BAKER CITY - The Horizon Hawks took fifth at the 1A state basketball tournament after suffering a heartbreaking loss to Triad in the semifinals and then falling to No. 1 seed McKenzie in the third-place game.
In the Hawks' game against Triad, Garrett Powless swished a desperation heave at the final buzzer Friday night to lift the Timber Wolves past Horizon 61-58.
"It was a tough one to take," Horizon coach Darrin Lingel said. "His prayer was answered as it was in the air."
Horizon led by 14 points in the third quarter and appeared to be closing in on the school's first-ever championship berth.
But the combination of outside shooting by Powless and six Hawk fourth-quarter turnovers enabled Triad to earn a spot opposite Siletz Valley in the title game. Siletz Valley won the championship Saturday, 70-56.
Powless scored 19 of his game-high 21 points in the second half. He made five of seven 3-pointers after the break, including one with 1:41 to play to tie the game at 56-56. Horizon freshman Matt Totaro gave Horizon back the lead 15 seconds later, when he drove hard to the basket down the middle of the key. Totaro scored all eight of the Hawk fourth-quarter points on strong drives to the basket.
"We had the mojo going and then some of our players slipped out," Lingel said.
Nathan Nilsson, Triad's muscular 6-foot-3 post, made a layup on a left-handed spin move with a minute remaining to tie the game for the seventh time, 58-58. The Timber Wolves regained possession 15 seconds later on Horizon's 21st turnover. Triad outscored Horizon 23-8 in the fourth quarter and 11 of those points came as a result of Hawk miscues. Conversely, Triad had 11 turnovers in the game, but none in the final nine minutes.
Triad worked 35 seconds off the clock before Coach Jason Young called a timeout with 10 seconds remaining to set up his team's final play. He was hoping for one of his quick guards to penetrate to the basket.
But Horizon's man-to-man defense cut off all the dribbling lanes and Powless received a pass on the left wing with :02 on the clock. Totaro smothered the 6-foot senior, whose only available shot was a falling-away "chuck" which found nothing but net as the buzzer sounded.
It was Triad's first lead since late in the second quarter. Horizon closed out the first half with a Max Totaro 3-pointer and two more treys by Jordan Andersen, giving the Hawks a 35-30 advantage.
Totaro and Sam Anthony were Horizon's main offensive threats early in the game. Totaro, a junior guard, scored 13 of his team-high 15 points in the first half, leading a balanced Horizon attack which saw four Hawks score in double figures. Anthony added nine of his 12 points and eight of his nine rebounds before intermission.
It was an Anthony jumper midway through the third quarter which gave Horizon its biggest lead, 46-32. But then Powless started to heat up, as his back-to-back 3-pointers brought Triad within 46-38. Although Horizon pushed the margin back to 12 points at the end of the quarter, the game's momentum had swung to Triad's favor.
In the third-place game, McKenzie proved it was worthy of its top ranking by defeating Horizon 51-35 Saturday.
The Eagles (28-1) were led by all-tournament selection Jordan Wiley who scored 29 points and grabbed 16 rebounds against the Hawks at Baker City High School.
McKenzie entered the state tournament unbeaten and was the top-seeded team. But a semifinal loss to league rival Siletz Valley dropped the Eagles into the third-place game against Horizon.
McKenzie never trailed after 6-foot-8 post Nick Nastasiuk scored inside for a 3-2 Eagle advantage. The margin was 27-9 at halftime, and although Horizon drew to within 13 points twice in the third quarter, butWiley wouldn't let the Hawks get any closer.
Once the game was out of hand, Lingel began shuttling players in and out of the game to get the state experience.
"A lot of my seniors got playing time," Lingel said. "It was just one of those games."
Horizon was led in scoring by Sam Anthony with 11 and Totaro, who had 10.
The Hawks ended the season with a 25-6 record.
The trip to Baker was the second time the Hawks have been to the state final's tournament. In their previous trip in 2008 they finished sixth.
"With the addition of one or two more players we should be right back in it next year," Lingel said.