Jordan makes it to state championship game in boys basketball
Mar 22, 2019 09:52AM
By Ron Bevan
Senior guard Terryn Mosley splits two defenders for a shot during the 5A state tournament. Mosley was the second leading scorer on this year’s Jordan boys basketball team (Photo by Adam Martinson, Amart Photography)
By Ron Bevan | [email protected]
It was a run unlike any seen at Jordan in more than a decade. But the run ended just one win shy of a state title for the boys basketball team.
The Beetdiggers made it to the state 5A championship game Feb. 26 against Corner Canyon. The Chargers would end up beating Jordan 62-45 to take the Draper school’s first state title and handing Jordan the second-place trophy.
“We beat Corner Canyon four times in a row,” Jordan coach Trace Bevell said. “It’s just hard to beat a good team five times in a row, and Corner Canyon is a good team.”
Jordan and Corner Canyon are rivals in not just proximity but also in region. Both are in Region 7 and the Beetdiggers beat the Chargers twice in the regular season this year as well as last. Jordan won the region title this year, losing only once to both Alta and Brighton during region action.
“Our goal this year was to win the region title and get to the championship game,” Bevell said. “We made both goals but it would have been nice to finish it off with a championship.”
It is the first time since 2003 the Beetdiggers made it through to the semifinals at state, let alone the title game. The last time Jordan hoisted the championship trophy was in 1984 when they were a 3A school.
But Bevell, in his sixth season coaching the Beetdiggers, has challenged his boys year after year and they have responded. Jordan lost all but one game in region action during Bevell’s inaugural season of 2013–14.
Jordan made it to a play-in game for state in 2016 and reached the quarterfinals in 2017. But after least year’s first-round exit, Bevell challenged his players to respond, to make it to the title game.
“I think our players have matured along the way,” Bevell said. “Two years ago making it to the quarterfinals taught us what we could accomplish. This year our guys just wanted it more.”
Led by junior sensation Dyson Koehler, Jordan racked up a 16-8 record prior to state play. Koehler, at 6'7", gives teams fits from his ability to play inside or beat you on the perimeter. He led Jordan in scoring with a 22 points per game average, including knocking down 55 three-pointers. He also led in rebounds with 187 boards for the year, a combination that is rarely seen as players adjust to only the outside or inside game.
“He is a matchup problem for other teams because he can go inside or out,” Bevell said. “Although he is just a junior, he already has Pac-12 and other Division 1 universities looking at him. He ended up being the number one scorer in 5A. And he was being guarded by two players a lot of the time. He just worked harder to get his shots.”
Jordan also relied on five seniors who gained experience from last year’s run. Led by point guard Terryn Mosely, the seniors also included Kelton Allen, Lincoln Oldham, Larry Opiyo and Connor Smith.
Mosely is a star of the senior class. A 6'7" perimeter player, Mosely complemented the playing style of Koehler and helped keep the opposition guessing. He was second in scoring with just over 10 points per game.
“Mosely is long and athletic,” Bevell said. “He is very athletic and is one of our best defenders. He has a chance to play college ball next year.”
The state tournament would prove to be a bumpier road for Jordan than was the regular season. It took overtime for the Beetdiggers to slip past Maple Mountain 56-55 in the opening game. Jordan had an easier time with Murray in the quarterfinals, beating the Spartans 61-43.
Still, Bevell wasn’t completely pleased with the ball the Beetdiggers were playing.
“We never played a great game at state,” Bevell said. “But we always played good enough to win. We got a little bit better each time, but never our best.”
The victory over Murray landed Jordan in its first semifinal game in 16 years. Pitting them against the East Leopards.
Last year, East knocked Jordan out of the tournament in the first round by just one point, 54-53. Facing the same team again had some of the players nervous. But this year Jordan made sure it wouldn’t happen again beating the Leopards 60-52, setting up the title game with Corner Canyon.
Ironically, Corner Canyon was in the same position last season as Jordan was in now. It was the Chargers’ first trip to the final game, and they lost out to another Region foe, Olympus.
“Corner Canyon went last year and knew what the championship game was like,” Bevell said. “It is a big deal to make it to the final game. You have to step up and play your best for a solid four quarters.”
The title game was close through the first two quarters, with Corner Canyon holding a 19-18 edge at halftime. But the Chargers would blow the game open in the third quarter, outscoring Jordan 21-10, and Corner Canyon never looked back.
Bevell said he hopes Jordan can do what Corner Canyon did this season and come back to the final game next year and walk away with the title. Chances could be good, as Jordan returns four starters.
There will be a change of scenery, however, as high school realignment places Jordan into the 6A bracket next year.
“We will be one of the smaller 6A schools next year, but I think it is a good fit for us,” Bevell said.