HERMISTON - When Hermiston Bulldog senior Jordan Crossley takes the floor, you might not even notice.

She'll quietly find her place in the offensive formation, cut in and out of traffic, take a shot if it's there and pass the ball off if it's not.

On defense it's more of the same, keeping the opposition honest with her speed but more importantly contributing to the team effort.

It's this game in, game out effort which has earned Crossley her mainstay on the starting five. According to coach Mike Royer, it also makes her one of the Bulldogs' most important assets.

"Jordan has always been a hard worker with a great attitude, which has made her a great player," he explained. "But more than anything, she's a complete player. I know I can count on her every time she goes in, and that's what makes her a valuable player on the team."

"She's one of those players that does her job without saying anything, without getting upset, and does it the right way," added fellow senior Hailey Davis.

One of the jobs handed to Crossley this year has been shooter, which has worked out nicely with the addition of freshman point guard Shoni Schimmel.

The senior has quickly adapted to Schimmel's floor vision and quick passing, and finds herself time and again ready to receive the ball in position to score.

"Sometimes I'm not getting good shots, or I'm not shooting very well," Crossley said. "That's when I need to get down the court and just get open."

"Jordan keeps looking for gaps, and when she finds one the ball gets delivered and she gets quite a few points that way," Royer added. "And for a shooter like her, it's nice when the focus is drawn away (by Schimmel), so she gets some good looks at the basket."

While she shies away from the title "shooter" and would rather be recognized as an all-around contributor, Crossley has come a long way with her confidence to go for the basket.

"Last year she was a little embarrassed or a little nervous to take the shots, but now she just takes them," senior Sarau Morrison said. "She can get down the court and can cut, but she also has a good outside shot."

"I'm still working with confidence on the 3-pointers," Crossley admitted. "But running the floor is no big deal. I feel comfortable with that."

The senior put in a season-high 18 points in around 24 minutes of play against Crook County Saturday, missing two from long range but finding great success in transition.

So far this year, Crossley has averaged more than 10 points per game, second behind Schimmel on the second-highest scoring team in the Intermountain Conference.

Already into the second half of league play, Crossley will need to continue playing her role on both ends of the floor to help Hermiston keep a one-game lead over Pendleton and defend the title.

A loss at Pendleton tonight would tie the rivals atop the conference.

"I'm sure they're looking at the game as an opportunity to get a league title," Royer said. "At the Pendleton game, there's big crowds and a lot of noise, so you have to play with poise. We have to focus and we'll be fine, especially if we shoot the ball like we have been."

One thing Royer hopes won't happen is a mirror image of last year, when the heavily-favored Bucks entered Hermiston only to be turned away with a loss and miss the IMC title.

"I look at Pendleton's team, and they remind me of our team last year," he explained. "No one really expected us to win last year, but we got confident and started expecting to win. And that's Pendleton now."


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