“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because, without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” ― Maya Angelou
Amid massive environmental destruction due to a historic flood affecting not only Pendleton but also the home of the Nixyaawii Community School and the Umatilla Indian Reservation, sheer determination, pride and honor pulled a community and tribal members together to continue the journey of the Nixyaawii Golden Eagles’ soaring above the storm to make it to the 1A Boys Basketball State Championship in Baker City, Oregon.
The returning 2019 1A state champions, Nixyaawii Golden Eagles, entered the 2020 state championship as a strong #5 with an overall record of 25-6.
Facing last year’s finals opponent Trinity Lutheran in the quarterfinals surely brought back memories from the 2019 championship game in which the Golden Eagles prevailed and became state champions. As it turned out, Nixiaawii prevailed again advancing to the semifinals taking down Trinity with a final score of 63-66.
Up next in the semifinals was #1 seeded Damascus Christian with an overall record of 27-2. It was to be a battle of the minds and bodies. Unfortunately, Damascus succeeded to win the game with a final score of 53-61, hence the Golden Eagles were now scheduled to play #3 Crosshill Christian to play for 3rd and 5th the next day.
Just as expected, Crosshill Christian would be a team well versed in fighting for the win. At the end of the first quarter, the game was tied 18-18.
With 2:32 left in the 2nd quarter, Crosshill gained a three-point lead, 28-25. Nixyaawii returned with a six-point lead and a score of 28-34 by halftime.
Going into the 3rd quarter the Golden Eagles held on to their lead 33-38 with 4:47 left on the clock. By the end of the third quarter, Nixyaawii maintained that lead with four points, 39-43.
The game continued to be a thriller with both sides not letting up for a second. Clocking the time at 4:45, Nixyaawii continued to lead with two points, 45:47. With a little more than two minutes on the clock, the score continued to be in favor of the Golden Eagles, 50-53.
By now fans on both sides were engaged in powerful and intensely loud cheering and up on their feet.
With 33 seconds left on the clock Nixyaawii’s lead had shrunk down to 54-55.
The Golden Eagles were determined to continue the fight to win until the last second. 33 seconds later the Nixyaawwi Golden Eagles broke out in cheers, pride and joy after holding on to their one-point lead and winning the game.
Congratulations to the Nixyaawii Golden Eagles for placing 3rd in the state, and a season to be remembered for a very long time for sure!!!
Highlights from the games
2020 1A State Championship is sponsored by
Nixyaawii vs Crosshill Christian
3/7/20 5:45 pm at Baker High School
Crosshill Christian 54
|Score by Periods||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||Total|
|Crosshill Christian||18||10||11||15||54||Record: (26-3)|
|Officials: Randy Rose, Tyler Jon Clark, Caleb Gettman
Technical fouls: Nixyaawii-None. Crosshill Christian-None.
OSAA OnPoint Community Credit Union State Championships
Moda Health Players of the Game:
Mick Schimmel, Nixyawii
Andrew Stoddard, Crosshill Christian