by Ramonda Thompson

for the Burns Times-Herald

The Crane girls team claimed the top spot at district basketball  tourney. (Photo by BARB MAHER)

The Crane girls team claimed the top spot at district basketball
tourney. (Photo by BARB MAHER)

The Crane girls basketball team brought home the championship trophy and board from their District 8-1A Tournament last weekend at Grant Union High and Prairie City High. The Mustangs defeated Long Creek/Ukiah (LC/U), Jordan Valley, and Prairie City in their quest for first place.

The Mustangs raced past the Mountaineers/Cougars from LC/U Thursday night in John Day, with a 49-8 win. Crane was up 33-0 at the half, and ahead 35-0 before LC/U put their first points on the scoreboard with a three-point basket at 5:10 in the third quarter. Coach Stub Travis slowed the Mustang offense up by having them slow down after steals and run their half-court offense, so as to not run the score up on LC/U.

Morgan Corrigan was high-point for the game with 12, Rebekah Clark, Glennie Milburn and Maria Thompson put in eight points apiece, Kayla Mims and Claire Hammond added four each, and Morgan Cronin had two points.


Cra 17 16 10  6    49

LC/U   0   0   3   5     8


It was a Mustangs vs. Mustangs semi-final for the Crane girls, as they matched up against Jordan Valley (JV) on Friday night in Prairie City.

It looked like a Peyton Manning-botched-snap moment at the jump, as the teams were facing the wrong baskets, but Andi Warn of Jordan Valley knew which was her basket, and went uncontested for the lay-in, and the first points of the game. Crane then woke up, and lit up the score board for a 21-7 first quarter lead. Momentum swung Jordan Valley’s direction in the second quarter, as they out-scored Crane 17-5. Crane went into the locker-room up 26-24.

Corrigan and Hammond hit treys early in the third period to give Crane a 32-26 edge, but Jordan Valley hung around by getting to the free-throw line and bringing the score to 34-32. Corrigan and Hammond closed out the third with lay-ins, as Crane broke Jordan Valley’s press.

Up 38-32, Crane girls fought out a hard fourth quarter, and JV kept chipping away. Clark hit three baskets in a row from the top of the key for a 51-45 Crane advantage with under three minutes in regulation. JV replied with a basket and hit the bonus shot, then made one of two from the line, as Hammond fouled out. JV’s Warn scored off a steal and lay-in in the last minute, and the game was into overtime, 51-51.

Jordan Valley put up the first points, for only their second lead of the game, 53-51, but the remainder of the OT was all Crane. Dunn tied the game at 53, then Corrigan hit the last of her four treys, and Dunn made another basket for a 58-53 Crane lead. With 2:02 left, JV called a time-out. At 1:27, Milburn went to the line for two attempts. In between her shots, JV called another time-out, but had none left. Despite JV’s bleacher-banging and yelling, Corrigan sunk her two technical bonus shots to put Crane up 60-53. Milburn converted one more free-throw at the 17 second mark, and Crane got the win, 61-57.

Corrigan led all scorers with 21, Hammond had 16, and Clark 10, for Crane double-figure scoring. Milburn and Dunn put up 6 points each, and Thompson 2.

Corrigan and Milburn grabbed 9 rebounds each, and Clark and Thompson 6 apiece, Dunn and Hammond 5 each, and Kayla Mims 3.


Cra 21  5   12  13  10  61

JV    7  17   8   19   6   57


The district championship was the fourth match-up of the season for Crane and Prairie City (PC), and the Panthers had come out on top of the Mustangs in the three previous games. Saturday, Feb. 15, at John Day, the Crane Mustangs girls changed that pattern, defeating PC, 38-34, for the first-place seed from their district going into the state tournament play-ins later in February.

Clark notched the Mustangs’ first points by getting her own offensive board and putting it back in. In a defensive stand-off, the first quarter ended with Crane up, 6-5. The game shifted PC’s way early in the second period. Three quick trips to the charity stripe gave the Panthers their first lead, 7-6. PC followed with two more baskets for five points, and had a 12-7 advantage. The Mustangs settled down, and took back the lead, 13-12, when Hammond hit two free-throws. PC never led again. Crane shut down the PC inside game with tough defense in a 2-3 zone. Thompson hit an inside shot from a Clark assist, and went one of two at the end of the quarter to give Crane a 16-13 lead at the half.

Crane took control of the game over the third quarter, as Dunn hit two baskets for a 20-15 lead. Then Milburn drained two of her three treys on the night, and the Mustangs took a 26-21 advantage into the final eight minutes.

Hammond made the next 10 points for Crane’s 36-28 lead, with 3:41 to go in the fourth quarter. Corrigan drove inside for a lay-in, as Crane went up by 10 with under three minutes left in the game. PC did not fold, though, and courtesy of bonus points and full-court pressure, came to within four points at the one minute mark. The Panthers had only been called for two fouls in the second half, and had to quickly commit fouls to get Crane to the charity mark for possible missed shots and defensive board possessions. It was too late, and Crane held on for the win, 38-34.

Hammond was game-high scorer with 13, Milburn added nine for Crane, Corrigan seven, Dunn four, Thompson three, and Clark two. Corrigan grabbed 10 boards and Milburn eight.


Cra  6  10  10  12    38

PC   5    8    8   13    34


Matt Witzel of Crane drives to the basket against Dayville/Monument. (Photo by BARB MAHER)

Matt Witzel of Crane drives to the basket against Dayville/Monument. (Photo by BARB MAHER)

The Crane Mustangs boys basketball team fought their way into the championship game at District 8-1A Tournament in John Day and Prairie City last weekend. The Mustangs defeated Mitchell/Spray (M/S) and Dayville/Monument (D/M) on their way to take on Jordan Valley, but fell to the defending district champions, 65-48, on Saturday night.

At Prairie City’s gym Thursday afternoon against M/S, Crane took a commanding lead, 25-14, over the first half. The Mustangs scored the first basket, and never looked back. M/S made a run at Crane in the third quarter, but could not overcome the half-time deficit, and Crane was up 34-29. The Mustangs shut the door on the Eagle/Loggers in the final period, outscoring their opponent 21-5. The 55-34 final score put Crane into the winner’s bracket for Friday’s action.

Corbin Hammond scored 14 points for the Mustangs, Wyatt Starbuck added 13, Tyler Opie eight, Travis Landon seven, Nick Witzel five, Joe Valentine and Jack Bentz three each, and Matt Witzel two.

Opie ripped 14 boards down, while N. Witzel and Landon grabbed seven apiece.


Cra    15  10   9   21    55

M/S 9    5  15    5    34


In the semi-final game Friday afternoon, Crane’s opponent was the number one team from the High Desert League-West division, the Dayville/Monument Tigers.

D/M scored the first points of the game, and Crane was scoreless until Starbuck nailed a 3-pointer after two minutes of play. The teams traded baskets, and Crane was down 14-10 after the first period. The Mustangs pulled to within one with another Starbuck trey, 16-15, and again with an M. Witzel offensive rebound put-back, 20-19. D/M went on a 10-1 scoring spree to take a 10-point lead mid-way in the second quarter. Crane was hampered by missed free throws, going only three of 12 in the first half. Crane trailed, 37-29, at halftime.

The Mustangs came out of the locker room break with a defensive stand. Over the third period, Crane did not allow a single basket to be scored by D/M. Landon’s pressure in the front court and Mustang defensive boards turned the game in Crane‘s favor. With under 30 seconds left in the quarter, M. Witzel tied up the game, 37-37, as he hit two free-throws. The Mustangs took the lead, 39-37, on Hammond’s basket to end the period.

Over the last eight minutes of regulation, Crane had a five-point lead several times. D/M pulled to within two, 50-48. Then Hammond was nicked with his fourth foul, and D/M tied the game on the resulting charity shots, 50-50. The Mustangs went up 52-50, but a false fire alarm was set-off, and it halted the game for more than 10 minutes. Back in play, the D/M press led to a turnover, basket, and another tie. As time ran out, the teams were tied, 54-54.

Opie’s basket and bonus early in the OT put Crane up 57-54. Although Opie and Hammond fouled out over the next minute, the Mustangs had the momentum going their way, and finished strong with buckets by Starbuck and the Witzel brothers for the 63-57 win.

Starbuck was high-scorer for the game with 17. M. Witzel notched up a double-double effort, with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Opie had nine points along with 11 boards. Landon, Hammond, and N. Witzel added six points each, and Valentine five.


Cra    10 19 10 15  9   63

D/M 14 23  0 17   3   57


The championship game was between High Desert League-East opponents, Crane and Jordan Valley (JV). The teams had split their league match-ups earlier in the season. The district champion would get a bye in the first round of state tournament play-in, while second place would have a home game, then a travel game in the play-in round (taking place the week of Feb. 25).

JV jumped out to a 10-3 lead, but Crane made an eight-point run to tie the game up, 13-13. JV answered with a 3-pointer to take a 16-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. Opie’s driving lay-in and Starbuck’s trey gave Crane the lead, 18-16, but JV regained the lead again at 22-20, and never relinquished it. Crane found themselves down 35-24 going into the half.

Landon got two quick steals to start the third period, but the JV Mustangs went on an offensive roll, and with under 3:30 left, had a 45-28 advantage. Then, Valentine scored nine points on a Crane 12-5 run, and Crane pulled within 10 points, 50-40.

The teams traded baskets early in the final quarter, but Crane’s third-quarter effort was not enough to counter JV’s big man inside (Wyatt Trautman), nor Ben Telleria’s 3-pointers. The two combined for 46 of JV’s team points. Jordan Valley won the game, 65-48. The Crane Mustangs finished second place in the district tournament.

Hammond put in 14 points for Crane, Opie 12, Valentine nine, Landon six, Starbuck three, N. Witzel two, and Jack Bentz two.


Cra 13  11  16   8     48

JV  16   19  15  15    65


At the District 8-1A Basketball Tournament in John Day and Prairie City last weekend, several Crane Mustangs were honored for academic and athletic success.

As the tournament games finished up on Saturday evening, All-Tourney teams were announced. From the Crane Mustangs boys, Tyler Opie earned first-team honors, and Corbin Hammond and Nick Witzel were named to the second team.

From the district champion Crane Mustang girls team, Morgan Corrigan earned first-team recognition..

The High Desert League announced their scholarship recipients for 2014 at the basketball tournament. Crane seniors Rebekah Clark and Andy Lamborn were awarded scholarships for their academic and athletic achievements.

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