Crane girls in title game

BAKER – The Joseph girls’ basketball has faced a number of adversities this season. The Old Oregon team has dealt with a gym fire, not knowing where to practice, switching classrooms and rescheduling of games. Throughout this all, the Eagles have continued to win, rising to the top of the league and making their way to the state tournament.

Photo Gallery: Crane v Joseph

On Saturday, the Eagles ran into an unstoppable force not seen this year-the Crane Mustangs. Facing Crane in the semifinals of the 1A state championship, Joseph fell in a 36-48 game.

Joseph did have the lead early as Sabriana Albee stepped around the Mustang defense for the first points of the game. Crane, in a slow start to the matchup, put their first points on the board at the 4 minute, 11 second mark when Dani Clark found the basket. At the end of the first eight minutes of play, Crane held on to a slim 9-7 margin.

The full court press by the Mustangs started to pay off in the second quarter as Crane put up six successive points off steals. Going into the locker room at the half, Crane led 21-18.

Coming out in the third quarter, Joseph was able to catch to the Mustangs and tied up the score at both 21 points and 23 points. Going into the fourth quarter, Crane maintained a 30-26 lead.

In the final eight minutes, Crane found the offense, putting up 19 points and running away with the game. This was the lone quarter Mustang coach Stub Travis said was his team.

“We did not shoot the ball well tonight at all,” said Travis. “I thought we played hard, but offensively we did not play like we have the past weeks. I was not worried about the game, but I was wondering when we were going to start scoring a basket?”

Travis did see one positive in the low scoring win.

“Every team has a bad game in the tournament,” he said. “We can say we had that game and put it behind us.”

For Joseph coach Lance Homan, the game showed just how far his team has come this year.

“The kids played hard today,” said Homan. “We had a chance there in the start of the fourth quarter, but just could not get it done. Crane is a well coached and tough team.”

Speaking of the problems in the first half with the press, Homan said nerves and lack of experience played a part.

Looking overall at his team, Homan is nothing but proud.

“You need to understand their whole lives have been turned upside down,” Homan explained. “I have a ton of respect for every player on this team. Every day gets changed with them-where they go to class, the location for practice, times of games, everything.”

The team, along with the whole school sustained a fire during the season, a blaze that destroyed Joseph Charter’s gym.

Albee finished with 9 points to lead the Eagles. For Crane, Kelsie Siegler led the Mustangs with 10 points. For their efforts, both were named the Moda Health Players of the Game.