The Grand County High School girls basketball team lost a pair of home games this weekend; a heartbreaking 51-44 loss to the South Sevier Rams on Valentine’s Day and a 64-27 shellacking by the North Sevier Wolves the next afternoon, leaving them tied with the San Juan Broncos for fourth place in Region 15 and the final spot in the state playoffs, setting up a winner-take-all game in Monticello on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 6 p.m.
The girls got off to a bad start against the Rams, burning a timeout 32 seconds into the game before falling behind as many as 13 points in the first half. The Lady Devils rallied for an 8-2 run to end the second quarter, cutting the halftime deficit to 7 points at 29-22.
Grand continued to claw back in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 34-31 before senior captain Shailee Croasmun nearly fainted on the court with 2:17 remaining in the frame, shortly after it appeared she got hit in the back of the head while fighting for a loose ball. The Rams immediately capitalized on her absence, draining a 3-pointer to go ahead by six. Croasmun returned with 1:40 left in the quarter and hit a jump shot at the buzzer to head to the fourth quarter down 37-33.
After South Sevier scored a point on a free throw to begin the quarter, Grand senior Alena Geiser hit back-to-back 3s, giving the Lady Devils the lead at 39-38. The Lady Devils committed their seventh foul of the half shortly thereafter, putting the Rams in the bonus and allowing them to reclaim the lead with a pair of free throws and the momentum with a 3-pointer shortly thereafter, which proved to be the dagger.
“We fought hard and gave ourselves a chance to win,” Grand girls basketball coach Tony Chacon said. “We just couldn’t finish.”
Croasmun said she felt like Grand was pressing against the Rams.
“I felt like it was very tense and we were trying too hard because we needed to win,” she said.
Geiser led three Lady Devils in double figures scoring with 15 points. Croasmun scored 13 points and junior Sadie Hansen scored 11, while sophomore Symony Call added 5 points.
The next day, with their season potentially on the line, the Lady Devils got off to another slow start, falling behind 8-2 before battling back to pull within a point at 12-11 going into the second quarter.
But what looked at first like it would be a tooth-and-nail fight to the end proved otherwise as the Wolves held the poor-shooting Lady Devils to just 4 points in each of the next two quarters and 16 points the rest of the game, while scoring at will on the offensive side on their way to the victory.
Geiser again led the Lady Devils with 8 points, followed by sisters senior Shailee and sophomore Talaunee Croasmun, each with 5.
“We weren’t working hard enough on defense and we weren’t moving on offense,” Shailee Croasmun said.
The Lady Devils got something of a mulligan as San Juan also failed to beat either North Sevier or South Sevier over the weekend, losing to the Wolves 61-46 on Friday, Feb. 14 and the Rams 65-47 on Saturday, Feb. 15, giving the Lady Devils and Broncos each a 3-7 region record and a split of the season series. The Lady Devils defeated San Juan 67-61 in overtime in Blanding on Jan. 14 and the Broncos won in Moab 49-46 on Feb. 4.
Shailee Croasmun said the Lady Devils must get off to a good start tonight in order to beat the Broncos in the rubber match.
“We’ve got to play good, hard defense and start off strong; score a lot of points in the first quarter,” she said.
If the Lady Devils beat San Juan, they’ll be scheduled to play Region 14 Champion Rowland Hall on Friday, Feb. 21 at 4:50 p.m., at Orem High School in the first round of the UHSAA Utah State 2A Girls Basketball Championships.
“We’ve got to play good, hard defense and start off strong.”
Lady Devils play San Juan for final playoff spot