The Grand County Lady Red Devils basketball team split a pair of games during the winter break, defeating Pinnacle Academy 74-34 at home on Dec. 29, 2014, and losing on the road 48-38 to Monticello on Jan. 3, 2015, giving the Lady Red Devils a 3-5 record heading into Region 15 play.
Grand girls basketball coach Tony Chacon said the Lady Red Devils’ matchup with Monticello was close throughout the game, but Grand couldn’t get timely rebounds and missed out on easy scoring opportunities, which allowed the Buckaroos to come away with the win.
“Monticello took care of us pretty easily at home; we weren’t prepared for their man-to-man,” Chacon said in reference to the foes’ first meeting in Moab on Dec. 16, 2014, in which the Buckaroos won 41-25. “But this time, it was back-and-forth. We hung with them most of the game, but we couldn’t get a rebound at crucial times; we kept giving them second-chance points.”
Lady Red Devil junior Symony Call had 11 rebounds, while the next leading rebounder on the team had only four, Chacon said. Grand played without senior Brook Schultz, who averages eight rebounds per game.
“I can’t ask Symony to do any more than what she did,” Chacon said.
Chacon said the Lady Red Devils missed some “point-blank shots,” while the Buckaroos capitalized on their opportunities on the other end, another key difference in the game.
“We need to relax more on offense,” he said. “We’re so tense and rigid, it makes us miss shots and make mistakes. One thing we’re going to focus on is less dribbling and more passing.”
Junior Talaunee Croasmun led the scoring for Grand with 14 points, followed by Call’s 11 points. The Lady Red Devils shot 4-of-11 from the free-throw line, while the Buckaroos converted 14-of-21 opportunities from the stripe, many of which came in the final minutes while Grand was fouling intentionally in hopes of rebounding missed free throws to cut into the Bucks’ advantage.
“We’re not to going to win a game against anybody shooting like that at the stripe,” Chacon said.
The Lady Red Devils also shot poorly from the free-throw line in their meeting with Pinnacle, converting only 14-of-27 opportunities, but a stellar defensive effort, including double-digit steals by Croasmun, led to easy scoring opportunities for the Grand offense, and the Lady Red Devils won 74-34.
Croasmun also had 27 points against the Panthers to lead Grand in scoring, followed by junior Madi Jones with 13, Schultz with 12 and Call with 11. Ten of Schultz’s 12 points came in the fourth quarter and seven of Call’s 11 points came from the free-throw line, where she shot 7-of-10, while the rest of the team shot a combined 7-of-17.
The Lady Red Devils jumped out to a 19-4 lead at the end of the first quarter, which they extended to 39-18 by halftime. The Grand defense remained stifling after intermission, allowing only seven points in the third quarter and nine in the fourth.
The Lady Red Devils are now set to begin Region 15 play at home against the San Juan Broncos on Tuesday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. Grand won a winner-take-all play-in game versus the Broncos for the final playoff spot in the 2013-14 season after each team won a close game on their opponent’s home floor in the regular season, adding even more intensity to the rivalry between the two schools.
“I’ve said for a while that I think we play in the toughest region in the state,” Chacon said. “Any team in our region can beat any other team in our region on any given night, and that’s one of the great things about basketball. The teams in our region are going to be tough, so we’ve got to get better quick. I’ve reminded the girls that this is the real start of the season; nothing we’ve done to this point matters when it comes to the playoffs.”
Grand begins Region 15 play versus San Juan
“I’ve said for a while that I think we play in the toughest region in the state. Any team in our region can beat any other team in our region on any given night, and that’s one of the great things about basketball.”
What: Grand County girls basketball versus San Juan
When: Tuesday, Jan. 13, 7 p.m.
Where: Grand County High School, 608 S. 400 East