Serpents and Senators for title |

Serpents and Senators for title

Dave Price

There was one objective to the Carson High School girls basketball team’s defensive game plan on Saturday night. That was to stop Mineral County’s Orndorff family.

But while Carson used its triangle-and-two defense to contain the talented sister act of senior Ashlee Orndorff and her freshman sister Sidney, the Serpents from Hawthorne showed there are other weapons in their arsenal en route to a 47-36 victory in the championship game of the 19th annual Carson Girls Basketball Tournament at Morse Burley Gymnasium.

“We didn’t want Ashlee to go wild on us and score 35 points,” Carson coach Paul Croghan said of Orndorff, a prized prospect who has already signed to play at the University of Nevada. “That’s why we ran that particular defense. The only problem is, you hope their other players don’t hurt you.”

In this case, freshman guard Delicia Jernigan scored 17 points and played a solid all-around game that helped Mineral County to the wire-to-wire victory and its first championship in six trips to the Carson tournament. The freshman’s big game came as no surprise to coach Dave Gelmstedt, whose Serpents have won five state medium schools championships in the last six years.

“We know there are going to be nights when other teams double team Ashlee and we’re going to need other people to step up,” said Gelmstedt, whose squad is 7-0 despite having only three returnees from last season. “The other night Sidney (Orndorff) was left open and she knocked down some big shots. Then Jessica (Meier) and Amanda (Stinson) both stepped up, and tonight it was Jernigan.”

The 6-foot-2 Orndorff did her damage by scoring 15 points to go along with 10 rebounds, three steals and two assists. She scored four of those points as the Serpents broke open a 40-36 struggle in the final 31 seconds.

The Senators, now 6-1 on the season, trailed by as many as 14 points before making their move at the end of the third quarter. Laura Borst came off the bench, hit a shot from the right corner and a 3-pointer from up top as Carson cut the deficit to 35-25.

“They were playing zone, we needed somebody to come in and shoot them out of it,” Croghan said. “That’s Laura’s strength. When she squares up and gets a good look, she’ll hit it.”

Freshman Talia Joyce knocked down a short jumper, and then Borst drilled another 3-pointer from the top as Carson pulled to within 35-30. Sophomore Erin Stieber hit a baseline jumper to make it 40-36 with 1:12 to go, but the Senators turned the ball over on their next possession. Orndorff then dropped in two free throws and the pressing Serpents forced another turnover when Jernigan stole the ball, effectively putting the game away.

Williams finished with 12 points, while Thurman and Borst added eight each to lead Carson offensively.

Even though both teams were playing their sixth game over a span of five days, Croghan didn’t believe fatigue was a factor.

“The girls are mostly in shape. I didn’t think that was a problem at all,” Croghan said. “It was one of those early season games. We want to learn from it and move on.

“We had some chances to win, it just didn’t happen. Hawthorne has a good ballclub.”

The Senators face another stiff test on Tuesday night when they host Galena.


Maggie Lazzari and Brianne McGowan combined to score 30 points to lead the Wooster Colts past the Dayton Dust Devils, who came up short while playing their sixth game in five days.

Wooster used a 20-10 run through the second quarter to take a lead for good en route to its first win of the season. Dayton (4-6) lost five games in the tournament – three to Northern 4A opponents, once to Southern California power Marina and once to perennial Nevada 3A state title contender and division rival Mineral County.

“Hopefully this will help us,” Dayton coach Kathy Jones said. “I think it’s good to go to tournaments, see quality teams and see how hard they work. Hopefully it will give them the incentive to work harder themselves.”

The Dust Devils jumped out on top 12-9 at the end of one quarter, only to see the advantage slip away against Wooster’s pressure. Wooster led 29-22 at halftime.

“We’ve put together some good quarters, we just can’t seem to put four of them together,” Jones said.

“Turnovers killed us today. Right now, I feel like we’re averaging more turnovers than points. We cannot hang onto the basketball.”

The Dust Devils fared well when they got the ball inside to the posts, as Jennifer Dillie scored 14 points to go with nine rebounds while Jeanette Macall added eight points. Forward Kristy Jacobsen also scored eight points and pulled down seven rebounds for the Dust Devils.

McGowan, a 6-foot-2 freshman, also scored 10 of her 14 points in the pivotal second quarter. Lazzari scored 10 of her game-high 16 points in the fourth quarter to help the Colts pull away.