First round matchups are always zany and the one between West Jordan and Jordan on Monday afternoon in the first round of the Girl's 5A State Tournament, was no exception. Jordan came in as the higher seed, and as such maybe was favored to win. But this game was no cakewalk. In the end, the Beetdiggers hung on to advance winning 48-44 behind Bev Smith's 17 points.
Jordan led wire to wire, but Beetdigger coach, Greg Cramer was pleased to get a victory in this game. He said, "A win is a win!" And he was happy to take it.
About half way through the fourth quarter, he called time out when the Jaguars tightened the game pulling to within three points. He said, "I told them we had to get back to basics." He also called a set play which worked to perfection as he anticipated the Jags would apply heavy pressure and Kaylie Robison was freed up for a layup under the basket which gave Jordan a little breathing room. Back on defense, Izzy Gustafson then stole the ball and fed it down court to Steph Burt who laid it in and just like that it was 45-38 for the Beetdiggers. The Diggers then applied stifling defensive pressure to emerge with the victory.
West Jordan used their own version of hard nose defense to keep the game close throughout. Julianne Tialavea scored 14 points to lead the Jaguars.
The Beetdiggers jumped out to an early 12-4 lead behind a couple of bombs by Smith beyond the three point line, but the Jaguars had only begun to fight at this point. The Jags double and triple teamed Jordan's Robison and frustrated her inside game. She did manage 12 points and hauled down a team high 9 rebounds. She got in foul trouble and had to sit much of the fourth quarter, but Cramer said, "We rallied around her foul trouble."
If West Jordan could have hit free throws better, they may have tightened up the game a little earlier. The Jaguars showed a tenacity to begin the second half but missed their first five free throws of the half. When they did start to pare the lead down, Cramer would call time out and settle down his girls and they would stop any runs the Jags made.
Jordan's Burt displayed high energy and aggression driving and twisting to the basket. Although she only tallied nine points, she piled up the assists as she always drew a crowd and was able to kick the ball out the the open player. Smith summed up the game best when she said, "You definitely have to come out ready to play. You can't take anything for granted."