Jordan Valley senior Taylor Warn controls the ball against Elkton during a loser-out playoff game last Saturday at Jordan Valley High School. The Mustangs defeated the Elks, 48-38 and secured a 1A state tournament berth. (Submitted photo)
JORDAN VALLEY – The Jordan Valley High School girls basketball players were nervous when they walked onto their home court for the second round of 1A state playoffs Saturday night against Elkton.
They had no reason to be.
The Mustangs shrugged off early-game jitters to post a 48-38 win over Elkton.
After going undefeated during the regular season and coming in as a No. 3 seed, the Lady Mustangs were in good shape to win the game against a No. 15 team.
And yet, for the first half of the game, the Jordan Valley girls couldn’t avoid the stress: they were playing “super tense” and making “stupid mistakes,” according to coach Kelsi Skinner.
The Mustangs struggled shooting and recorded a 33 percent field goal shooting percentage. The girls also had issues with the Elks’ full-court press during the first half, as Elkton led 17-14 at the half.
“We didn’t play our best at all,” said Skinner. “The girls played not to lose and didn’t play to win.”
Skinner said the girls, especially her seniors, felt that there was a lot at stake for the loser-out playoff contest.
“It was one of those games where tensions were high because if they lose, the season’s over. But if they win, they get to go to the state tournament,” said Skinner.
She said the girls were nervous just as they were a year ago, when they were playing at the state tournament at Baker City for the first time in 17 years.
The Mustangs lost to Days Creek during the quarterfinals and did not place after losing to Joseph in the consolation round.
Anxiety, though, washed away after the break.
Skinner said she told her girls in the locker room that they just needed to relax.
The Mustangs rallied a 15-10 run during the third and outlasted the Elks during the fourth period for the win.
Jordan Valley sophomore Kiana Quintero led the Mustangs with 24 points, eight rebounds and five steals, while senior Regann Skinner poured in 14 points.
“Kiana Quintero had a great game,” Skinner said. “For her, the tensions weren’t there as much as they were for the seniors.”
With the victory, Jordan Valley punched its ticket to the quarterfinal round at the 1A girls state basketball tournament starting this Thursday, at Baker High School. There, the Mustangs will play their first match against No.11 Perrydale at 6:30 p.m.
If Jordan Valley wins, the Mustangs will advance to the semifinal round Friday.
Otherwise, they will play a consolation round.
Jordan Valley sophomore Kiana Quintero shoots a basket as Elk players attempt to stop her. (Submitted photo)