After an 0-3 effort brought the Lady Devils crashing back to earth last week, the Grand girls basketball team got back on the winning track this week with victories Tuesday, Jan. 28 at home over Dove Creek, Colo., and Thursday, Jan. 30 in a region game in Mt. Pleasant over Wasatch Academy.
Tuesday’s game versus Dove Creek saw the Lady Devils avenge a 40-38 road loss to the Bulldogs on Dec. 19, 2013. The rematch was just as close as the Bulldogs held a 2-point lead after a quarter, with the Lady Devils forging ahead by 2 at half-time. Grand extended its lead to 3 points going into the fourth quarter before senior Shailee Croasmun, who had struggled shooting much of the night, finally found her rhythm and carried the Lady Devils to a 45-41 victory, scoring 11 of Grand’s 12 fourth-quarter points on the strength of a trio of 3-pointers.
“A lot of people don’t realize Dove Creek came into the game with an 11-1 record and they’re ranked No. 1 in their classification in Colorado,” Grand girls basketball coach Tony Chacon said. “They’re well-coached and don’t make many mistakes. They played excellent defense, especially on Shailee; she usually gets off to a hot start.”
Croasmun was also bothered by a jammed thumb on her shooting hand, which helped the Bulldogs contain her for three quarters.
“Shailee did a great job of distributing the ball until her shots started falling,” Chacon said. “I told her to drive inside and pass the ball, then the defense would back off of her and she’d have open shots, which she was able to put in during that final quarter.”
Croasmun finished with a game-high 16 points, followed by junior Sadie Hansen, who scored 8 points and pulled down 7 rebounds and senior Alena Geiser, who added 7 points.
Chacon said he was disappointed in the Lady Devils’ foul shooting as they went 11-for-22. He said it could have been the difference between a double-digit victory and a nailbiter.
“It was a tough, back-and-forth battle,” Chacon said. “These are the kinds of games we need to be able to finish. Fortunately we were able to this time.”
The Lady Devils then took their game to Mt. Pleasant, where they shut out the Tigers for the entire first quarter, jumping out to a 15-0 lead, which they extended to 23-0 before Wasatch Academy finally scored and 33-16 by halftime on their way to a 58-36 victory, improving their season record to 11-5, 3-3 in Region 15 play.
Croasmun carried her torrid shooting from the end of Tuesday’s game into Thursday’s game, scoring a game-high 23 points, including four 3-pointers, while also collecting four steals. Sophomore Talaunee Croasmun scored 20 points and pilfered the ball 3 times, Geiser scored 7 points and collected 2 thefts and sophomore Symony Call scored 6 points and pulled down 14 rebounds. The Lady Devils again struggled from the free throw line, hitting only 9-of-16 shots.
“We made it a point to play our best defense of the season,” Chacon said. “We put heavy pressure on the ball at all times, which created a lot of turnovers and fast breaks for us.”
The Lady Devils were also scheduled to play at San Juan on Tuesday, Feb. 4. They’re scheduled to play at Altamont in a non-region game on Thursday, Feb. 6 before wrapping up the regular season with region games at Emery on Tuesday, Feb. 11, and in the Devils’ Den versus South Sevier on Friday, Feb. 14 and versus North Sevier on Saturday, Feb. 15. Each game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
A victory over San Juan would have guaranteed the Lady Devils of at least a fourth-place finish in Region 15 play and a spot in the state playoffs. Chacon said Grand is going to focus one game at a time and is confident they can win these rematches.
“I think we can play with anyone we’ve got left on the schedule,” he said. “We’re going to throw a few different looks at the teams we’ve already played and hopefully we’ll come away with some wins.”
“It was a tough, back-and-forth battle.”
When: 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15
Where: Grand County High School, 608 S. 400 East