Joseph's Nicke Parks waited until the very last seconds to score the most important of her 22 points Saturday. Parks hit a baseline jumper with just two seconds left in the game to send the Eagles to their second consecutive Class 1A state girls basketball title.
Parks' basket gave Joseph the 45-44 win against Old Oregon League nemesis Imbler. The championship game also was the fourth time the teams had met during the season, with the top-ranked Eagles winning three of those meetings.
Imbler was not only looking to knock off the Eagles, but had a trifecta of its own in mind. The Panthers had won the Class 1A football and volleyball titles this past fall, beating Joseph on the way to the football crown.
The largest lead by either team Saturday was seven points, by Joseph in the third period.
From that point, with about three minutes left in the third period, Imbler rallied to pull within 33-31 at the break.
Joseph maintained a slim lead until just 1:48 remained in the game. Then Imbler's Sarah Bowers scored inside for a 42-41 Panther lead.
The score stayed the same until 24.3 seconds remained when Parks found Shelby Harshman cutting to the basket for a 43-42 Joseph lead.
Imler answered with 10 seconds left when Kiley Dewey connected on a jumper from about 15 feet away swinging the lead back to Imbler, 44-43.
Parks scored six points in the first quarter to help Joseph ease ahead 12-10 at the break.
The margin remained at two points until Imbler's Chelsea Poe hit two free throws with 4:11 left in the half to knot the game at 16-16.
Three points from Kira Poe increased Imbler's lead to 19-16 with about three minutes left.
Anna Bird then answered for Joseph, scoring the final four points of the half to give Joseph a 20-19 halftime edge.
Six straight points from Parks to start the third period gave the Eagles their largest lead at 26-19.
Joseph still led 31-24 on a three-pointer by Bird when Imbler answered. The Panthers got baskets from Chelsea Poe and Kira Poe, and a three-pointer from Reva West to pull within 33-31 entering the fourth quarter.
Four points from Parks, and another three-pointer from Bird build Joseph's lead back to 41-36 with 4:17 left in the game.
But two baskets by Bowers, and one by Thompson, gave Imbler the lead at 42-41.
Parks finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds, four blocked shots and two assists. Bird added 14 points.
Chelsea Poe topped Imbler with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Dewey and Kira Poe each added 10 points.
Joseph 12 8 13 12 - 45
Imbler 10 9 12 13 - 44
Joseph (45) - Harshman 2 1-7 5, Bailey 0 0-1 0, Bird 5 1-2 14, Kohlhepp, Parks 9 4-7 22, Warnock 2 0-0 4, Williams. Totals 18 6-17 45.
Imbler (44) - West 1 0-1 3, Dewey 4 0-0 10, Thompson 2 0-0 4, S. Bowers 2 1-2 5, C. Poe 4 4-5 12, Anthony, A. Bowers, K. Poe 4 2-4 10, Nilsson. Totals 17 7-12 44.
Three-point goals - Bird 3, West, Dewey 2. Fouled out - none. Total fouls - Joseph 15, Imbler 17. Technicals - none.