Lady Red Devil junior Symony Call looks to pass the ball after grabbing a rebound in Grand's season-opening 48-34 victory over Green River on Tuesday, Dec. 2. Call tied for the team lead with 10 rebounds in the victory. [Photo courtesy of Teresa Croasmun]

Lady Red Devil junior Talaunee Croasmun scored 25 points and added five steals to lead Grand to a 48-34 season-opening victory over the Green River Pirates in the Devils’ Den on Tuesday, Dec. 2.

The Lady Red Devils jumped out to a 17-11 lead after one quarter of play, but saw a weakness from last year rear its ugly head as the team’s two seniors, Sadie Hansen and Brook Schultz, each got two fouls in the opening quarter.

“Our key was to force turnovers and jump out to an early lead, which we did,” Grand girls basketball coach Tony Chacon said. Unfortunately we got into some foul trouble, which really affected us going into the second quarter … We were forced to experiment with the lineup. We don’t have our rotation down yet.”

Grand struggled in the second quarter, scoring only six points to go into halftime down 24-23, but it bounced back in the third quarter, outscoring the Pirates 11-2 to reclaim the lead at 34-26.

Chacon said that during the halftime break, he told the Lady Red Devils not to panic.

“When you panic, you exert a lot of energy,” he said. “We were gassed.”

Grand extended its lead in the fourth quarter, outscoring Green River 14-8 in the frame for the 48-34 victory.

“You can’t ask for better defense than that, only giving up 10 points in a half, only two in the third quarter,” Chacon said. “If you play solid defense, it leads to easy offense.”

Croasmun said the Lady Red Devils played much more cohesively in the second half.

“We passed the ball more, and played more as a team in the second half,” she said.

Chacon praised the efforts of several of his players, including Croasmun; junior Symony Call, who tied for the team lead with 10 rebounds; junior Madi Jones, who scored eight points and had five rebounds and five assists; and senior Sadie Hansen, who scored eight points and had 10 rebounds.

“Everyone looks at Talaunee for her offense, but her defense is strong, too,” he said. “She really held it down at the top of our 1-3-1.”

Chacon said the efforts on the boards from Call, Jones and Hansen were a key in the victory, consistently denying the Pirates second-chance opportunities.

“Symony was a monster on the boards and Sadie is a horse inside,” he said. “Once she develops a rhythm, she’s hard to stop.”

In the loss, the Pirates got to the foul line 33 times in the loss, hitting 17 of their shots. Grand only got to the line 14 times, connecting on six shots. In the first half alone, Grand committed 17 fouls, while the Pirates committed only five. Chacon said that along with staying out of foul trouble, the Lady Red Devils also hope to improve their offensive execution.

“We were a little out of sync,” he said. “We didn’t get the ball inside to the bigs like we’ve been working on.”

The Lady Red Devils are scheduled to play at the Duchesne Invitational on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 12 and 13, where Chacon said Grand will face tougher match-ups in part because of its renaissance last season.

“Everyone will be gunning for us,” he said. “We went 14-11 last year after a few really bad years and we gained some respect, so teams won’t be letting us slide like, they’ll be playing us tough.”

Croasmun said she feels like as long as the team keeps improving, it will be able to go a long way, while Chacon added that he feels good about the team’s chemistry this season.

“These girls play really well together,” he said. “They really want to help each other and do well.”

After the Duchesne Invitational, the Lady Red Devils are scheduled to return home to play host to the Monticello Buckaroos on Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m.

Croasmun scores 25 in 48-34 victory over Green River

“These girls play really well together. They really want to help each other and do well.”

When: Tuesday, Dec. 16, 7 p.m.

Where: Grand County High School, 608 S. 400 East