Hawthorne’s dynamic duo wins fourth state title
March 3, 2003
RENO — Four of a kind. No other high school basketball player in the country can say that they had a better hand than Hawthorne seniors Sidney Orndorff and Delicia Jernigan.
The Hawthorne seniors capped their brilliant high school careers by winning their fourth straight state title Friday at Lawlor Events Center.
Orndorff and Jernigan combined for 44 points as the Serpents countered a first-half challenge from White Pine for a 58-45 victory to win the Nevada 2A girls crown on Friday.
“In four years they didn’t lose to a league opponent and they lost nine games in four years,” said Hawthorne coach David Gelmstedt. “It’s been special.”
While Jernigan struggled from the field, hitting only 6-of-21 attempts, Orndorff shredded the Bobcats’ man defense, making of 8-of-15 attempts and 9 of 11 from the free throw line. The younger sister of Portland University redshirt Ashlee Orndorff scored a game-high 27 points.
“They were all exciting, but we had to get this fourth one,” Orndorff said.
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Their contributions didn’t end at the basket. Orndorff had four steals, three rebounds, two assists and two blocks, while Jernigan contributed four steals, four rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
“They’re not gonna lose. They come to play, they come to win. That’s the way they’ve been since they were little,” Gelmstedt said.
White Pine enjoyed a 14-11 lead after one period, but Hawthorne switched to a matchup zone and full-court pressure to wrest control from the Bobcats.
“We haven’t used the press all year because we’ve been dominating people and I don’t like to press when we’re ahead that much,” Gelmstedt said.
Jami Harris’ free throw late in the second quarter put Hawthorne ahead for good, 27-26. Orndorff followed with a trifecta and Jernigan added a pair of driving layups to stake Hawthorne to a 34-28 halftime lead.
“They play well together and they play well with their team,” said Harris, who scored eight points. “They constantly know where each other is and they penetrate and get the post the ball.”
Kyla Stultz pulled the Bobcats to within 37-35 early in the third period, but then Orndorff took over.
First, the 5-foot-8 Orndorff pump-faked at the 3-point arc, leaving her defender behind as she drove in for a layup. In the process, she drew Heidi Walker’s fifth foul.
After a Bobcat free throw, Orndorff was fouled again, making 1-of-2 free throws as Hawthorne took a 40-36 lead. Following Tana Gurule’s steal and layup, Orndorff did her best Michael Jordan impersonation. After jab stepping to make her defender think a drive was coming, Orndorff stepped back to hit a 16-foot fallaway jumper for a 44-36 Serpent lead.
“She rose to the occasion when she had to,” Gelmstedt said. “(Delicia) was struggling a little from outside, so Sid took it inside. One or the other has to take control.”
White Pine never got any closer as the Serpents enjoyed as much as a 15-point in the final quarter.
“I can’t ask for anything more. It’s even better to win it with my best friend (Orndorff),” Jernigan said.
The most dominant basketball program in the state won its ninth state crown in 10 years, including the past three at the 2A level. Hawthorne finished with a 31-2 mark, its only defeats coming at the hands of a pair of 4A opponents. White Pine finished 23-8.
Notes: Orndorff and Jernigan are still being recruited by the UNLV and the University of Portland. UNLV coaches watched the two play in their 66-39 semifinal victory over Lincoln County on Thursday.
“The college coaches are crazy not go after those two. They’re too special,” Gelmstedt said. “They know the game so well and they’ll die for you on that floor.
“They may not have the height and reputation of some players, but I’ll put them against anybody in the country.”
“Me and ‘Jerni” haven’t been recruited that heavily and we just wanted to show people we can play,” Orndorff said … The last time Jernigan and Orndorff didn’t win a championship was in the eighth grade. Orndorff injured her ankle during the season … Gelmstedt hasn’t decided if he’ll return next season. He promised Jernigan and Orndorff he’d coach them through their senior seasons.
“I’ll have to see what the summer brings,” said Gelmstedt, who has a daughter who will try out for the team next season … The Serpents have only lost one game in their past 10 state tournament appearances.
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