Jordan girls basketball has a productive year filled with learning experiences
The Jordan High School’s varsity girls basketball team huddles up during a timeout this season. (Billy Swartzfager/City Journals)
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The Jordan High School girls basketball team didn’t win as many games this season as they did last year. The Beetdiggers finished 2016–17 with a 6-12 overall record and a 3-7 showing in region play, landing just south of the middle of the pack. Last season they won 10 games while losing 13, to wind up with a losing record, finishing fifth in 5A’s Region 3. Jordan didn’t play any postseason games this season or last, but there were successes scattered throughout this year’s campaign.
Jordan began the season on the road at Herriman. They lost to the Mustangs back on Nov. 22, 71-50. The team’s second game was a bit better as they traveled to Granger, defeating the Lancers by 15 on Nov. 29, 48-33. The Beetdiggers began December with a close home loss to Hillcrest on the 1st, 49-43. But Jordan rebounded and defeated Hunter on Dec. 5, at home, by a score of 34-23. That was the Beetdiggers’ last win before the holiday break. Jordan lost four straight, a couple of close calls and a couple of landslides.
On Dec. 9, Jordan visited Ridgeline and were kept from scoring 30 points for the first time of the season. Ridgeline won 53-29. The next road game was against Wasatch. The Beetdiggers lost by a basket, 49-47, on Dec. 12. On Dec. 20, Jordan went to Copper Hills to face a team who played in last year’s semifinal round at the state tournament. The Grizzlies scored a ton and beat Jordan 70-23. The final game prior to the break was against Judge on Dec. 22, who beat Jordan 61-47. The majority of December was tough for Jordan, but they did score a one-point victory against Uintah to finish of 2016 on Dec. 29, 35-34.
The first two weeks of January were filled with ups and downs. On Jan. 3, the Beetdiggers lost to Bingham 68-22, but beat Cottonwood a few days later on the 5th, 40-30. Jordan lost a close game to West Jordan on Jan. 10, 35-32. But a win against Taylorsville on Jan. 12 was the team’s highlight for the season according to Head Coach Randy Olsen.
One of Jordan’s leaders, senior Morgan Sterner, was fouled shooting a three-point shot as time expired with Jordan down by a point. Sterner attempted three foul shots after the clock had stopped. She made two of them for the one-point victory against one of the top three teams in the region.
Along with Sterner, senior Collette Batty has shared the leadership role. Both have played Jordan High School basketball all four years they have attended. They both work extremely hard and are great at encouraging all of the other players on the team, according to the coach.
“They are unselfish, positive and easy to be around,” Olsen said. “They are also stellar students.”
All of Jordan’s starters have been in the program for at least three years, which is one of the most experienced teams Olsen has coached. Olsen thinks this team is unique due to their familiarity with one another, leading to more cohesive play. Juniors Peyton and Ashton Naylor have been logging a lot of minutes and have produced a lot of exceptional play. The team also has had great contributions from Kilani Teo and Hannah Ashman, who are both juniors, and Diera Walton, a sophomore.
A lot of these players will be back next season, looking to expand on this season’s goals, which were to improve each week and to work hard together as a team. If the girls can keep it up, the wins will begin to accumulate and they can reach their third goal, which is to play in the state tournament.