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The lead changes hand 14 times in title game before Triad comes out on top 58-56

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - Damascus Christian guard Micah Colburn fights through traffic during Fridays semifinal win over Nixyaawii.

1A State Championship

Team Score
#2 Triad
#1 Damascus Christian

The Damascus Christian boys basketball team made a run to the 1A championship game in Baker City before coming up one shot short in a 58-56 loss to Triad on Saturday night.

Spencer Powers hit a 3-pointer to pull the Eagles within one with 1:12 to play. Triad went 1-for-6 (16.7%) from the free-throw line down the stretch, but a batch of offensive rebounds kept the ball on its end of the floor for most of the final minute.

Powers pulled down a miss to give the Eagles one final chance with 0:23 on the clock.

Damascus Christian wasn't interested in overtime. It was going for the trophy.

"We knew they would have their big guy (6-foot-5 center) Ethan Moritz planted under the basket and that was going to create a lot of traffic going into the lane. With the way we were shooting the ball, I felt we had just as good a chance getting an open look from 3 and going for the win," Damascus coach Brad Patrick said.

The Eagles got the ball into the hands of their top scorer Jacob Zakharyuk, who launched a 3-pointer toward the hoop.

"We got the shot we wanted, and he had space to shoot, but it was just off by inches," Patrick said.

Moritz collected the rebound and the clock went to zeroes.

The teams traded the lead 14 times with Damascus battling back from down as many as eight points late in the third quarter. Zakharyuk erased much of that deficit with back-to-back 3s, then Micah Colburn started the fourth quarter with another triple and a layup to zip the Eagles to a 46-43 lead.

"The gym was electric — it was extremely close the entire way," Patrick said.

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - Damascus Christians Jacob Zakharyuk drives to the basket during the Eagles 61-53 semifinal win over Nixyaawii on Friday night. He scored a tourney-best 70 points over the three games in Baker City and was a unanimous all-tournament choice.

Damascus Christian finished with the second-place trophy and a 27-2 final record.

The Eagles knocked off defending champion Nixyaawii 61-53 in Friday's semifinals, breaking the game open with a 10-point surge late in the third quarter. Zakharyuk had three buckets during the scoring spree, which saw the Eagles driving the lane for layups.

Damascus took a 46-36 lead into the fourth quarter, and Nixyaawii never got closer than seven down the stretch.

"Against a team like Nixyaawii you never really get comfortable," Patrick said. "But up 10 with 1:30 to play I felt like 'Okay, we can do this.'"

Zakharyuk shot 12-for-21 (57.1%) — five of those baskets coming from behind the arc — on his way to a game-high 32 points.

"He attacked the basket, he knocked down 3s — his attack was very balanced," Patrick said.

Both sides relied heavily on their starting lineups with Zach Nelson, Colburn and Zakharyuk never coming off the floor for Damascus.

The Eagles' excelled on the defensive end, holding Nixyaawii to 21-for-61 (34.4%) shooting.

"The boys went out and executed the game plan," Patrick said. "We wanted every shot to be contested, and we wanted to secure the rebounds."

Damascus opened the tournament with a 58-46 quarterfinal win over Ione on Thursday, sprinting to a 13-point lead in the first quarter. Zakharyuk led the way with 20 points, while Powers added 18.

Zakharyuk was a unanimous all-tournament choice after leading all scorers over the weekend with 23.3 points per game. Colburn also earned all-tournament honors.

Damascus girls win fourth-place game

1A Fourth-place game

Team Score
#4 Damascus Christian
#7 Mohawk

The Damascus Christian girls beat Mohawk 48-36 in Saturday's fourth-place game in Baker City.

The Eagles held Mohawk to three baskets during the middle two quarters, shutting out their opponent for a seven-minute stretch.

"We really locked down on defense. We keyed in on their two main scorers and made some of their other players shoot the ball," Damascus coach Dave Wakefield said.

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Damascus Christians Noelle Wakefield put up a game-high 16 points in the Eagles 48-36 win over Mohawk in Saturdays fourth-place game.

The two players the Eagles took away were guard Peyton Robinson and center Kendyle Gormley, who combined for 11 points on the night.

The defensive charge turned a two-point Damascus lead at the end of the first quarter into a 37-20 margin heading into the fourth.

Damascus began to pull away midway through the second period when Sierra Hale and Noelle Wakefield hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions.

Another deep ball by Wakefield stretched the margin to double digits midway through the third. She went 4-for-9 (44.4%) from behind the arc and finished with a game-high 16 points.

"We ran a play for her on our first possession and she knocked it down," Dave Wakefield said. "There's a huge mental aspect to it when a team looks at the scoreboard and they are down 3-0 right out of the gate."

Allie Love scored 11 points, while Emily Powers added nine.

Wakefield was the top sharp-shooter for the weekend, knocking down 10 triples in Baker City.

Damascus Christian finished the season with a 26-3 record.

This story is scheduled for our Tuesday, March 10, print edition.

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