Golden Eagles fourth at state

Nixyaawii's boys edge Powder Valley, 76-74, to bring home the trophy.

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BAKER CITY, Ore. - Shawn Simpson scored 23 points to lead Nixyaawii's Golden Eagles past the Powder Valley Badgers, 76-74, to capture fourth place in the Oregon Class 1A boys state basketball tournament here Saturday morning.

"Shawn is our scorer," Nixyaawii coach Aaron Noisey said. "He likes to score the ball."

All of the other four Nixyaawii starters scored in double figures as well.

Isaiah Case had 16 points, Joe Crawford 14, Anthony Bonifer 13 and Ashton Picard 10.

"We've had balanced scoring most of the season," Noisey said. "We like to get everybody involved in the offense."

Two Badgers recorded double-doubles in points and rebounds.

Trenton Dixon scored 35 points and pulled down 20 rebounds. Peter Colton got 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Nixyaawii was outrebounded 50-27.

"The Badgers killed us on the boards," Noisey said. "They are a big, physical team. So we had to play defense and force the action, to turn the tide."

The Golden Eagles used a full-court press most of the game and came up with nine steals - while forcing 18 Powder Valley turnovers.

Nixyaawii took care of the ball on offense, only giving up nine turnovers.

The biggest shots of the game came late in the fourth from Picard and Anthony.

At the one-minute mark in the fourth quarter, with the Eagles trailing by two points, Picard was fouled on a rebound. He made both ends of the one-and-one opportunity to tie the game.

The Badgers' Colton drew a foul on the other end and made one of two free-throw chances for a 73-72 Powder Valley lead.

With 34 seconds remaining, the Eagles called a timeout after advancing the ball to halfcourt.

The in-bounds play went to Simpson and the defense gathered around him.

Simpson gave a no-look, cross-court pass to a wide -open Bonifer, who hit a bank shot to put Nixyaawii up by one point.

"We've used that play twice now towards the of game this year," Noisey said. "It worked both times because Bonifer is a clutch shooter and Simpson is a good passer along with a scoring threat."

The Badgers' Dixon was fouled on a shot attempt on the ensuing possession. He connected on the first free throw for a 74-74 tie. His second free throw missed, Nixyaawii rebounded and called another timeout.

As Bonifer struggled receiving the inbounds pass following the timout, Dixon attempted to strip the ball and was called for a foul. That send Bonifer to the line with two seconds remainingin regulation play.

Bonifer swished both free throws to secure the lead and win.

"Anthony is our best free-throw shooter, about 90 percent," Noisey said. "We knew once that he was fouled, that he would make both of them."

The Badgers' full-court heave as time expired didn't come close.

Nixyaawii found itself in a 9-0 hole to begin the game but used an 18-8 run to close within 23-20 at the end of the first period. But by halftime, the Golden Eagles had forged ahead, 44-39.

Simpson scored six points in the third to and the Golden Eagles extended their lead to 60-54, setting the stage for a see-saw fourth-quarter battle.

Nixyaawii concluded its season with a glossy 28-2 record.

NIXYAAWII (76) - Bonifer 4-11 4-4 13, Simpson 11-22 0-0 23, Crawford 5-12 3-4 14, Case 6-12 3-4 16, Picard 4-10 2-2 10, McKay 0-0 0-0 0, Sampson 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 30-69 12-14 76.

POWDER VALLEY (74) - Dixon 16-29 2-5 35, Allen 3-9 0-0 7, Kandle 0-2 0-0 0, Benites 1-8 3-4 5, Colton 12-18 1-2 27, Reed 0-0 0-0 0, Akers 0-1 0-0 0.Totals - 32-67 6-11 74.

Nixyaawii 20 24 16 16 - 76

Powder Valley 23 16 15 20 - 74

3-point goals - Nixyaawii 4-11 (Bonifer, Simpson, Crawford, Case), Powder 4-16 (Dixon, Allen, Colton 2). Total fouls - Powder 14, Nixyaawii 11. Fouled out - Powder (Dixon). Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - Powder 50 (Dixon 20), Nixyaawii 27 (Bonifer 6). Turnovers - Powder 18, Nixyaawii 9. Assists - Powder 10 (Dixon 3, Kandle 3, Benites 3), Nixyaawii 6 (Bonifer 2, Case 2).

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