Dazon Sigo scored the first basket of the game, and Nixyaawii never trailed as the Golden Eagles beat Trinity Lutheran 59-42 in the 1A state championship game Saturday night at Baker High School.
“We are excited,” Nixyaawii coach Shane Rivera said. “It’s the first boys state championship. I told them they were the best team ever at Nixyaawii, and they were excited to hear that.”
The Golden Eagles, who ended the season on a 12-game win streak, finished with a 28-2 record. Their only losses were to 3A Umatilla and three-time Washington 2B state champion Kittitas.
Mick Schimmel led the Golden Eagles with 17 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots.
“Shoot, he was everywhere,” Rivera said. “We needed every bit of effort he had. He saved his biggest performance for the biggest game of the year.”
Nixyaawii ran out to a 14-5 lead after the first quarter, and led 28-16 at the half.
“We got up early and kept it that way the rest of the game,” Rivera said. “Credit to our defense, and credit to the kids and their work in practice to be as strong as we were in the end.”
Though Nixyaawii led by 12 at the half, Rivera said his players did not act like it was over.
“I don’t know if that crossed their minds,” he said. “They had a talk among themselves before we coaches came in, about the job that needed to be done. I told them 16 more minutes and we are state champs.”
The Saints (24-6) never got closer than 10 points in the third quarter, and at one time trailed by 16.
In the fourth, the Golden Eagles stretched their lead to 22 points with a 3-pointer by Deven Barkley with 5:08 to play. Trinity Lutheran would trim the deficit by a few points, but Nixyaawii never let them back into the game.
The Golden Eagles also got 12 points and eight rebounds from Magi Moses, nine points from Quanah Picard and eight from Barkley.
They also got 16 points from their bench, compared to 2 for Trinity Lutheran.
“That’s what it takes,” Rivera said of the scoring. “One guy cannot carry a team. The one with the most balance has success.”
Scooty Gilbert led the Saints with a game-high 18 points, while Cash Niemeyer added 11 points and 14 rebounds.
Nixyaawii will graduate just two seniors off the team — Barkley and Sigo.
“They were both in tears after the game,” Rivera said. “It’s good to see them go out on top.”
Schimmel and Moses Moses were named to the all-state first team, while Barkley and Tyasin Burns were selected to the second team.