The Mustang boys celebrate with their new state trophy. (Submitted photo)
By John L. Braese
BAKER – After claiming the High Desert League title and a first round bye in the state playoffs, the Jordan Valley boys basketball team made its way to Baker as one of the final eight teams.
In quarterfinal action on Wednesday, the Mustangs met the third-ranked Lions of Hosanna Christian. In a show of the team’s offensive capabilities in an overtime period, the Mustangs took care of Hosanna Christian, 80-68.
The Lions were first on the board and built a 6-0 lead before Jordan Valley’s Kirk Eiguren scored at the 5:01 mark. Two minutes later, a basket by Zeke Quintero knotted the Lions and Mustangs. Jordan Valley then went on a 15-0 run and at the end of the first eight minutes led 24-9.
Hosanna Christian tightened up the score at 24-17 in the first two minutes of quarter number two. Jordan Valley then went an 11-point run and as the first half came to a close, led 38-21.
Jordan Valley continued to maintain the lead throughout the third quarter and with only eight minutes left in the game, led 53-40.
In the fourth, Hosanna Christian started to chip away at the Mustang lead. With 50 seconds left in regulation, the Lion’s Silas Sanchas scored on an easy layup and tied up the score at 60. Both teams then had the chance for the win, but with nine seconds left in the game, a long three-point try by Zeke Quintero didn’t land and the two teams headed to overtime.
In overtime, Garrett Youren put Jordan Valley up early with only two seconds off the clock. The Mustangs then went on to outscore the Lions 20-8 and grabbed the quarterfinal victory.
J.J. Echave ended the extended game with 24 points and added 13 rebounds while being named the Player of the Game for the Mustangs. Chase Fillmore backed up Echave with 20 points and Quintero had 14 points to go with eight rebounds.
For the game, the Mustangs were 42 percent from the floor and shot an impressive 83 percent from the free throw line ,going 15-for-18.
Moving on to the semifinals on Friday, the sixth-ranked Mustangs took the floor against the seventh-ranked Badgers of Powder Valley.
In a game that saw Powder Valley score 22 points off Mustang turnovers, the Badgers pulled off the slight upset, beating Jordan Valley 54-52.
The Mustangs took the opening tip and promptly placed points on the board off a jumper by Quintero. The first eight minutes of play saw the two teams tied up four times and the lead changed five times before Powder Valley walked off the floor with a 17-15 margin.
Both teams put up an additional 11 points on the scoreboard in the second quarter and after the first half of play, the Badgers led 28-26.
Powder Valley was out quickly to start the third quarter, leading at one point 40-26. Jordan Valley was able to slightly close the gap and trailed 44-37 going into the final eight minutes.
Using a combination of shots from the field and free throws, the Mustangs pulled to within two points at the 6:46 mark.
With just over one minute left in the game, a jumper from Echave pulled the Mustangs to within two points at 52-50. Down the stretch, free throws from Powder Valley kept the Badgers out in front. With 19 seconds left, Quintero again pulled Jordan Valley to within two points.
When Powder River turned over the ball, Jordan Valley had one last shot to tie the game but Eiguren’s final shot missed as the clock ticked to zero.
Quintero ended with 19 points and was named Player of the Game for the Mustangs. Echave had 15 points and Fillmore had nine and Eiguren had 10 rebounds.
Moving to Saturday and the battle for third place in the tournament, Jordan Valley met the Perrydale Pirates.
In their second close game in two days, the Mustangs dropped a 48-44 decision, settling for fifth place in the state tournament. Turnovers were a problem as the Pirates scored 17 points of Jordan Valley turnovers.
Jordan Valley was first on the board off a basket by Echave. After a shot by the Pirates tied up the score, the Pirates went on a run and led 16-10 at the end of the first eight minutes.
The Mustangs fought back in the second quarter, outscoring Perrydale 15-10 and as the first half came to a close, trailed only by a single point at 26-25.
Midway through the third quarter, Echave’s basket knotted up the two teams at 31. A basket by Quintero gave the lead to the Mustangs 30 seconds later and as the clock wound down, the two teams both had 37 points.
As the game clock wound down, the Mustangs were forced to foul after trailing by three points. The Pirates converted at the line to take the win.
Echave was named Jordan Valley’s Player of the Game with his 19 points and four steals. Fillmore ended with nine points and seven boards.
Along with its fifth place finish in the state tournament, the Mustangs end the season with a 23-4 overall record and a perfect 16-0 High Desert League and a league title.
Due to graduation, the Mustangs will loose seniors Kasen Skinner, Echave and Youren.
Jordan Valley 24 14 15 7 20 -80
Hosanna Christian 9 12 19 20 8 -68
Jordan Valley 28 3 15-18 80: Fillmore 5 0 4-4 20; Skinner 0 1 0-0 3; Quintero 6 0 2-3 14; Eiguren 3 0 0-1 6; Echave 10 0 4-4 24; Stanford 0 0 3-3 3; Youren 4 0 2-3 10. Hosanna Christian 15 10 8-19 68.
Powder Valley 17 11 16 10 -54
Jordan Valley 15 11 11 15 -52
Powder Valley 17 3 11-25 54. Jordan Valley 16 4 8-12 52: Fillmore 2 0 5-6 9; Quintero 3 4 1-1 19; Eiguren 3 0 0-2 6; Echave 7 0 1-2 15; Davis 0 0 1-1 1; Stanford 1 0 0-0 2.
Jordan Valley 10 15 12 7 -44
Perrydale 16 10 11 11 -48
Jordan Valley 21 0 2-6 44: Fillmore 4 0 1-2 9; Skinner 1 0 0-0 2; Quintero 4 0 0-1 8; Echave 9 0 1-1 19; Eiguren 3 0 0-2 6. Perrydale 15 3 9-16 48.