After a heartbreaking 63-56 home loss to non-region rival Monticello on Friday night, Jan. 3, the Red Devil boys basketball team bounced back to defeat Maeser Preparatory Academy 82-29 on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 4.
On Friday night, the Red Devils played from behind most of the game, trailing by as many as 15 points in the third quarter before tying the game at 54 apiece with about 5 minutes remaining in the game. The Red Devils went cold after battling back to tie the score, missing several opportunities to take their first lead since their 3-2 advantage early in the first quarter.
The Bucks finally broke the mutual cold spell with a bucket from senior Austin Maloy and a free throw shortly thereafter to go up 57-54. The Red Devils’ cold spell extended to the foul line, though, as senior Trevor Bertuzzi missed the front end of a one-and-one and senior Kaden Risenhoover, who was 4-for-4 from the line to this point in the game, missed a pair of free throws.
Monticello extended its lead to 60-54 before senior Adam Jenkinson hit 2-of-3 free throws to end the drought. Monticello held Grand scoreless the rest of the game and added 3 more points to hand the Red Devils their third loss of the year and second to the Buckaroos.
Red Devil boys basketball coach Brook Shumway said the Red Devils got into a habit of rushing bad shots late in the game.
“Shots will fall or they won’t; we can’t control that,” he said. “What we can do is be smarter with the ball and take good shots. Monticello played smarter than we did tonight.”
Grand and Monticello stayed close early on before the Buckaroos went on a 12-2 run beginning late in the first quarter to turn a 2-point lead into a 12-point advantage at 29-17. The Red Devils went on an 8-0 run to battle back within single digits at 29-25. Monticello led 34-29 at halftime despite committing 11 fouls to the Red Devils’ three; Grand went 6-for-10 from the line, while the Buckaroos didn’t attempt a free throw in the first half. Shumway said the Buckaroos out-hustled the Red Devils to take the lead despite the free-throw disparity.
“We’ve got to be more aggressive,” he said. “We’re not talented enough to not out-hustle our opponents.”
The Red Devils came out fighting in the third quarter, scoring the first 3 points to once again pull within 2 points before Jenkinson went down with an ankle injury, seemingly sparking a 13-0 run from Monticello to push its lead to 15 at 52-37. Upon Jenkinson’s return late in the third quarter, the Red Devils promptly went on a 17-2 run of their own to tie the game at 54-54.
The Red Devils finished the game 13-of -24 from the free-throw line, 2-for-8 in the fourth quarter, while the Buckaroos shot 5-for-10 from the stripe.
“(The Buckaroos) definitely wanted it more than us most of the game,” Shumway said. “Going 2-for-8 from the line at the end of the game really hurt us bad.”
Another key in Friday’s loss was that from the end of the third quarter to the end of the game, Jenkinson, who finished with 19 points, Risenhoover, who finished with 13, were the only Red Devils to score. Senior Koi Cook, who fouled out late in the fourth quarter, also scored 11 points in the game.
“That’s been one of our biggest problems all season so far,” Shumway said. “We get one or two kids that score while everyone else doesn’t. If we get all our kids on the same page, we’ll be a much better team.”
On Saturday afternoon, the Red Devils jumped out to a 17-10 lead through one quarter before dominating the score in the second and third quarters 25-6 and 25-8 to coast to a decisive victory despite missing Jenkinson, who sat out the game. Cook led 11 Red Devil scorers with 17 points, while junior Tanner White pitched in 14 and Risenhoover added 11.
The Red Devils (4-3, 0-0 Region 15) were scheduled to play one more preseason game on Tuesday, Jan. 7 against Pinnacle Academy before they open region play at Wasatch Academy on Friday, Jan. 10 at 4:30 p.m. Their next scheduled home game is against region-foe San Juan on Wednesday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m.
Boys lose to Monticello, beat Maeser Prep
“What we can do is be smarter with the ball and take good shots. Monticello played smarter than we did tonight.”
When: 7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 15
Where: Grand County High School, 608 S. 400 East