Croghan goes out a winner |

Croghan goes out a winner

Marty Greenstein

FALLON — Paul Croghan finished his coaching career a winner Saturday.

In his final game after 38 years of coaching, Croghan led his Girls East All-Star Team to a 54-49 win at the third annual Optimists Nevada Basketball Classic at Churchill County High School.

Not surprisingly, Croghan savored his final victory.

“They’re all sweet after 38 years, and this one ranks right up there,” he said. “There was a lot of talent on both sides, so I didn’t have to do too much.”

Croghan’s team, which consisted of the best graduating players in the region, was led by a duo from Mineral High School in Hawthorne. Sidney Orndorf scored 10 points and her teammate Delicia Jernigan led all players with 14 points and wowed the crowd with some tricky layups.

Other members of Croghan’s team included Carson’s Talia Joyce, who went scoreless, and Christy Fox of Dayton High School. Fox finished with 3 points.

The play of Orndorf and Jernigan made a big statement for small school basketball, as the game was largely made up of players from 4A school, but that didn’t surprise Croghan, who lettered in football, basketball, and track at a school of 120 students.

“I’ve always said that it doesn’t matter how big the school is, those girls could play at any level,” he said.

Behind the play of Orndorf and Jernigan, Croghan’s team jumped out early and held a commanding 27-17 lead at halftime.

The team extended that lead in the third quarter, hitting three consecutive three-pointers and moving on top 46-27.

“We had a good run in the third; we hit some three-pointers and got into a rhythm, and that was big,” Croghan said.

It definitely was. The East fell asleep in the final quarter scoring only 8 points, and the West moved back into the game by exploding for 22 points, making what looked like a runaway for Croghan into only a 5-point victory.

To Croghan what mattered more was that all his players were able to enjoy the game.

“All the girls got to play equal minutes; It didn’t matter win or lose.”

Croghan capped a career that started in Boise, Idaho in 1965. He moved to Carson in 1971 and has coached a number of sports, including varsity football from 1983-1992, softball, and boys and girls golf. He was also an assistant coach for Carson High’s state champion boys basketball team in 1975. All in all, Croghan coached 30 years in Nevada and 29 at Carson High.

Now Croghan plans to leave the coaching behind and head to his hometown of Arnold, Nebraska and enjoy retirement.

“Home is where the heart is, and that’s my home,” Croghan said.

Croghan will stay busy working at a nine-hole golf course and will consider substitute teaching.

And possibly something else.

“Who knows, maybe I can help coach too,” he said with a smile.

Maybe Saturday wasn’t Croghan’s last game coaching after all.