E.A. Sports Today

On the record

Ohatchee’s Jorda Crook sets another Calhoun County Tournament scoring record, goes for 49 points and 20 rebounds as Lady Indians beat Jacksonville

Ohatchee’s Jorda Crook boxes out in hopes of being in position to rebound a missed free throw in her Calhoun County Tournament game against Jacksonville Thursday. She had 20 rebounds in the game. On the cover, Crook drives through the Jacksonville defense on her way to the basket. She scored a tournament record 49 points. (Photos by Necorra Harris)

(At Jacksonville State)
Wednesday’s Girls Games
Ohatchee 64, Jacksonville 53
Alexandria 48, Piedmont 41
Thursday’s Girls Games
Ohatchee vs. Anniston, 3 p.m.
Alexandria vs. Oxford, 6 p.m.
Friday’s Girls Game
Championship, 6 p.m.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE – Jorda Crook will stand right there and tell you she’s not “a basketball person.” But it’s funny, for someone who isn’t, she sure finds a way to dominate every basketball game she plays.

The Ohatchee senior who puts the power in power forward set another Calhoun County Tournament girls scoring record in the quarterfinals round Tuesday, going for 49 points and 20 rebounds, in leading the Lady Indians to a 64-53 win over Jacksonville in Pete Mathews Coliseum.

The win sends the third-seeded Lady Indians (18-3) into Thursday’s 3 p.m. semifinal against second-seeded Anniston. They will be trying to reach the finals for the second time in school history and first since 2008.

Crook is going to UAB to play volleyball after high school and doesn’t want to play basketball there, but she excels in every sport she plays, even the ones not at the top of her list.

“I’m not a basketball person, but I always try to play my best,” she said. “Even though it wasn’t my best game I still gave all my efforts. My dad always tells me God’s given you the talent and I need to use it.”

Ohatchee coach Bryant Ginn has been the beneficiary of Crook’s best efforts on the hardwood and doesn’t buy that “not a basketball person” stuff for a second. 

“A, she’s a liar, and, B, she is a competitor and the ultimate competitor,” Ginn said in the most loving of terms. “It doesn’t matter what it is, she wants to be the best at it and she thrives under the spotlight. To me, it doesn’t matter what sport it is. She won a state championships in track last year trying something for the first time. Could’ve won another one in high jump but had a volleyball thing to go to. As a competitor, that’s why she is the way she is.”

Crook may try her best every time she’s on the floor, but the Calhoun County Tournament seems to bring out her very best. Last year in this round she set the girls single-game tournament scoring record with 43 points against Alexandria. In her last three quarterfinals round games in this tournament she has scored 149 points and grabbed 48 rebounds.

With Wednesday’s outburst she moved up three spots on the state’s all-time girls scoring list, moving into a tie for 31st with St. James’ Leslie Claybrook (1986-89) – 2,668 points. She holds one of the top scoring averages in the nation this season. 

“We’re almost numb to the things she can do,” Ginn said. “She played her tail off, which is what we needed. She was calling for the ball at the end, that’s what you want out of your go-to leader. You want her to want the ball and she wanted the ball. It was a tight game. We had to have her.”

Interestingly, she scored only six points – albeit all six of her team’s points – in the first five minutes of the game as Jacksonville fronted her in its 3-2 zone and got some active backside help. The Lady Golden Eagles went up 16-6 when Lexi Phillips beat the first-quarter home with a mid-court 3.

Then Crook found her bearings and, as Jacksonville coach Corey Mize said, “she became Jorda Crook.”

She had 23 of the Lady Indians’ 27 points in the second quarter as they took outscored Jacksonville 27-5 to take a 33-21 halftime lead. She finally gave them the lead finishing off a 1-on-2 fast break with 5:06 left in the first half, then gave them the lead for good with a free throw a short time later.

She was 12-of-20 from the field in the half. The rest of the team was 2-of-9. She set the single-game scoring record with a 12-foot jumper with 3:41 left in the game.

“I just play the same way every time,” she said. “I know when my team needs me and at times like this they need me. We were in foul trouble at lot, our shots weren’t falling in the first quarter, so I knew I had to step up my game.”

With a little better free throw shooting she would have had 50 for the fourth time this year. She was 7-of-13 from the line, but five of those misses were front ends.

But for as much as Crook dominated, the Lady Golden Eagles didn’t fold. Jacksonville trailed by 21 midway through the third quarter, but a series of 3s by Ashley Grant and Phillips and some strategic buckets by Dee Prothro in between had them back within eight 30 seconds before quarter’s end.

“It says a lot about our girls,” Mize said. “We had a lot of fight in us tonight. I think we were down by 22 and the girls continued to fight. I tried to put a task on them and they stepped up when they needed to. Jorda is a tough task to ask of anybody, but it says a lot for our team moving forward that they’re able to fight through deficits and fight through the hype and continued to work on what we work on.”

Grant finished with 22 points despite picking up four fouls in the first half. Phillips had nine points on three 3s and Prothro had eight points and a team-high 12 rebounds.

“It really says a lot about her character to be able to play with four fouls,” Mize said of his sophomore scorer. “That’s not an easy task, either; it’s tough to play with four fouls. So, for her to step up and still be able to control the floor and still find ways to contribute on offense and defense with four fouls, that says a lot for her moving forward.

“She’s still so young that she’s got a lot to learn. She’s already knowing this, she’ll be her own monster in a couple years.”

JACKSONVILLE – Ashley Grant 7-20 6-6 22, Alexis Phillips 3-10 0-2 9, Dee Prothro 4-11 0-0 8, Halaina Lozano 2-6 2-2 8, Mya Swain 2-8 1-4 6, Ontarriah Braxton 0-3 0-0 0, Rachel Sanders 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-58 9-14 53.
OHATCHEE – Jorda Crook 21-31 7-13 49, Whitney McFry 3-8 0-0 6, Alyssa Davis 3-5 0-1 6, Mia Waters 0-1 2-2 2, Lindsey Zurchin 0-5 1-2 1, Kiana Garber 0-2 0-0 0, Tabi Davidson 0-1 0-0 0, Priesly Davis 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-53 10-18 64.
Jacksonville      16         5         18        14 –      53
Ohatchee          6          27        16        15 –      64
3-point goals: Jacksonville 8-24 (Grant 2-8, Phillips 3-6, Lozano 2-5, Swain 1-4, Braxton 0-1); Ohatchee 0-4 (McFry 0-1, Zurchin 0-3). Rebounds: Jacksonville 31 (Prothro 12), Ohatchee 45 (Crook 20). Fouled out: Grant, Swain, Davidson. Total fouls: Jacksonville 21, Ohatchee 17.

AHSAA Girls All-Time Leading Scorers

1. Courtney StrainWoodland5,2832004-10
2. Leah StrainWoodland4,5612008-14
3. Hayden HambyWest Morgan4,4852007-12
29. Paige AndersonSpring Garden2,7042003-07
30. Michelle DeLongchampCatholic2,6851987-90
T-31. Leslie Claybrook St. James2,6681986-89
T-31. Jorda CookOhatchee2,668current
Source: AHSAA
Ashley Grant (L) and the rest of the Jacksonville defense give chase as Ohatchee’s Jorda Crook races up the floor with the ball. (Photo by Greg Warren)

You must be logged in to post a comment Login