Jordan Valley girls basketball comes up short at state tournament

Jordan Valley freshman Cassity Gluch (center) takes a shot as Crane’s Riley Davis and Elizabeth Jenkins attempt to block her during the consolation round at the state tournament last Friday. (The Enterprise/Kristine de Leon)

BAKER CITY – The Jordan Valley High School girls basketball team suffered a disappointing end to its 2018-19 season last Friday, after losing to Crane 54-41 in the consolation finals at the Class 1A state basketball tournament held at Baker High School.

Both teams came out strong for a tightly contested first quarter. But Crane turned it up several notches with a 13-2 burst in the second quarter, building a commanding 30-18 lead before the halftime break.

Jordan Valley tried to spice things up in the second half by putting on a full-court defense that resulted in 12 Crane turnovers. But a litany of missed rebounds and poor shooting plagued Jordan Valley. The Mustangs shot only 23 percent and were 3-of-15 shots from the 3-point line.

“The girls are disappointed, but I’m not disappointed in them,” Jordan Valley coach Kelsi Skinner said as she choked back tears. “The girls worked really hard. They fought hard. I’m really proud of them.”

Jordan Valley had roared to a 23-4 record through the regular season and was one of the hottest teams down the stretch, entering the state tournament as the No. 3 seed in the state tournament, winning the High Desert League title, before an opening-round loss to Perrydale at the state quarterfinals Thursday night.

The girls were a dejected bunch afterward with heads down and tears flowing down their faces, knowing that they only lost by three points to Perrydale, which had been trailing until the fourth quarter. The Mustangs’ largest lead was by 11 points during the third quarter against the Pirates.

“I think the girls were just nervous,” Skinner said. “I think the pressure of being at the state tournament and being so close to the championship just threw them off.”

It was an especially tough loss for Jordan Valley standout Regann Skinner, Kiana Quintero and Taylor Warn, who missed three back-to-back 3-point tries in the final 10 seconds.

For Skinner, making it to the state tournament was a significant accomplishment anyway. The Jordan Valley girls basketball program had gone 19 years between Class 1A state tournament appearances prior to 2018. 

Next season, Jordan Valley returns half of this year’s squad. Graduating seniors Skinner, Taylor Warn, Emilee Burch and Nicole Terry will be missed. But the Mustangs also return a strong bench of players, including Quintero, a sophomore; junior Baylee Davis and freshmen Cassity Gluch and Tayler Eiguren.

Jordan Valley’s Nicole Terry guards Crane’s Laurel Witzel as she works the ball down the court. The Crane Mustangs defeated Jordan Valley 49-30 in the consolation semifinals and placed fourth in the state tournament. (The Enterprise/Kristine de Leon)

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