E.A. Sports Today

Awards all around

Ohatchee girls win third straight area tournament title, Crook reaches another scoring milestone

Ohatchee senior Jorda Crook (23) is surrounded by coach Bryant Ginn and her teammates on the occasion of scoring her 3,000th career point in Wednesday’s area tournament title game.

Championship game
Ohatchee 71, Glencoe 56

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Jorda Crook is running out of room in her closet to put all the basketballs she’s collected over her stellar high school career and, quite frankly, Ohatchee coach Bryant Ginn is running out of balls to give her.

Crook became the 18th player in Alabama girls basketball history to score 3,000 career points when she went for 47 Wednesday to lead the Lady Indians over Glencoe 71-56 for the Class 3A Area 12 girls tournament title, their third straight area crown. 

As Class 3A Area 12 champions, the Lady Indians will host the loser of Thursday’s Piedmont-Saks game in Monday’s subregion round. Glencoe will travel to the Piedmont-Saks winner.

“It’s crazy,” Crook said of the milestone. “I think it’s crazy that not a lot of people have done it and I accomplished that. I talk to my dad every day about hitting it. One of my goals was to hit 2,500 and now I’ve surpassed it and hit 3,000.

“I think it’s great that not only did we win I hit that. I’m just going to carry this energy into the subregional game and hopefully we’ll go to state.”

Crook needed 39 points to join the elite scoring club and she reached it on a pair of free throws with 6:20 left in the fourth quarter. And she still wasn’t done, adding eight more points before retiring for the night with 1:10 to play.

The UAB volleyball signee now has 3,008 points for her basketball career, and Ginn pointed out there were several games during the COVID year the Lady Indians didn’t play that would have added to that total. Next on the state’s all-time girls scoring list is Lisa Baswell Bates at 3,050. 

School officials presented Crook with a commemorative ball recognizing the feat after the game and before distributing the awards. She was the tournament MVP.

Both Crook and Ginn both were glad they didn’t stop the game to recognize the milestone.

“I’ve just never been about that part of it,” Ginn said. “I kind of watched LeBron (James setting the NBA all-time scoring record) last night and (the Lakers) get beat and they needed that game.  I don’t think she would want it that way and I’ve just never been. It’s about the team at the end of the day and then we’ll celebrate individual accomplishments.”

This latest basketball now goes alongside balls for her 1,000th, 1,500th, 2,000th and 2,500th points. She got the 2,000, 2,500 and 3,000 balls this season as she’s scored more than 1,105 this year, fifth on the single-season scoring list. The girls single-season record is 1,261 by all-time leading scorer Courtney Strain Screws in 2007-08.

“I told her I’m running out of basketballs, you’re going to have to slow down,” Ginn said as he watched the players cut down the net. “I don’t mind giving them to her. I’ll start buying them out of my pocket if that’s what it takes.”

The next one she gets likely will encompass her career achievements with her final points total.

When her name was called for MVP Wednesday she celebrated with a front handspring, so you can add gymnastics to the sports in which she excels.

“Jorda’s like a super-human athlete, literally,” said senior post Alyssa Davis, who celebrated her own selection to the all-tournament team with a nimble cartwheel. “I just love her. There’s just something all about her. It’s amazing to be on the court with her because she always knows what to do. She’s always making plays.”

The game was physically and emotionally intense from the top row of the stands to the last seat on the bench.

Glencoe’s Jaxson Sizemore hit two free throws after the buzzer to give the visitors a 16-13 lead. Crook got cranked up in the second quarter, scoring 16 of the Lady Indians’ 19 and carrying them to a 33-26 halftime lead. Whitney McFry’s 3-pointer with 5:09 left in the half were the only non-Crook points of the quarter and broke a 19-19 tie that gave Ohatchee the lead for good.

Crook was 18-of-27 from the floor and 11-of-14 from the foul line, 8-for-11 in the fourth quarter. She also grabbed 14 rebounds, half of which she turned into points.

“If she hit (the 3,000th point) on a 3, I probably would never hear the end of that one,” Ginn said.

Glencoe drew within one twice early in the third quarter, but Ohatchee kept the Lady Jackets at bay. Then Kiana Garber buried three straight 3s around some more Crook points and the Lady Indians started pulling away.

“I knew we were going to be in good shape today,” Ginn said. “During seventh period we were discussing some things and everybody was locked in. When (Crook’s) got that look in the eye, it’s going to be a good day.

“I told Coach (Aaron) Jackson during shootaround (Garber) ain’t missed; she’s on fire. What made it more special I heard somebody in the crowd say ‘she can shoot’ and it went in and it was like lightning. The last week and a half she’s been shooting the ball well. That’s what we’ve got to have. As we keep going everybody’s got to keep stepping up more and more and I thought we did that tonight.”  

The next one she gets likely will encompass her career achievements with her final points total.

Girls Championship Game
Madalyn Amberson 2 0-0 6, Autumn Greene 2 1-2 6, Anna Grace Ponder 0 0-0 0, Sarah Ponder 0 0-0 0, Kinslee Gray 7 2-4 19, Alli Amos 3 1-2 7, Kinlee Montgomery 0 0-0 0, Hailey Hanners 1 0-2 3, Emma Croy 0 0-0 0, Jaxson Sizemore 6 2-3 15, Libbie Hufstetler 0 0-2 0, Ella Hipps 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 6-15 56.
OHATCHEE – Tabi Davidson 0 0-0 0, Katherina Marsh 0 0-0 0, Bailey Fowler 0 0-0 0, Emily Riddle 0 0-0 0, Whitney McFry 2 0-2 6, Makayla Brackett 0 0-0 0, Mia Waters 0 2-2 2, Greenlee Orman 0 0-0 0, Carly Hall 0 0-0 0, Priesley Davis 0 0-0 0, Kiana Garber 3 0-0 9, Jorda Crook 18 11-14 47, Lindsey Zurchin 1 0-0 3, Alyssa Davis 2 0-0 4. Totals 26 13-18 71.

Glencoe16101515 –56
Ohatchee 13142019 –71

3-point goals: Glencoe 8 (Amberson 2, Greene, Gray 3, Hanners, Sizemore); Ohatchee 6 (McFry 2, Garber 3, Zurchin). Total fouls: Glencoe 20, Ohatchee 13. Officials: Glass, Hudgins, Southerland.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Jorda Crook, Ohatchee (MVP); Kayla Traylor, Hokes Bluff; Bella Millirons, Westbrook Christian; Kinlee Gray, Glencoe; Jaxson Sizemore, Glencoe; Kiana Garber, Ohatchee; Alyssa Davis, Ohatchee; Whitney McFry, Ohatchee.

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