Coming off a week in which they went 3-0, the Grand County Lady Red Devils battled illness and a lack of depth, dropping region games to Emery, South Sevier and North Sevier to fall to 2-3 in Region 15 play halfway through the region slate.
On Tuesday, Jan. 20, the Lady Red Devils traveled to Castle Dale to play the region-leading Emery Spartans, where a 94-foot-court – 10 feet longer than most high school courts – played a part in wearing down the Lady Red Devils, who already had several players battling illness, coach Tony Chacon said.
The Spartans jumped out to a 26-12 halftime lead and never looked back. The disparity in team depth showed as Emery had 11 different players score points, three of whom scored 10 or more. Grand only had six players score, with senior Sadie Hansen and junior Talaunee Croasmun each scoring nine points.
“Emery is probably the best team in 2A,” Chacon said. “They were in the press, and Talaunee broke it time and time again, we just couldn’t get any shots to fall.”
The Lady Red Devils returned to the Devils’ Den to play South Sevier on Friday, Jan. 23, jumping out to an 11-8 first-quarter lead before a three-point second quarter put them in a hole they couldn’t dig their way out of, ultimately falling 38-31.
Chacon said the Lady Red Devils played well as a team, but the ball didn’t bounce their way.
“Our defense was stellar,” he said. “… We just had turnovers at crucial times and you can’t do that against a team of this caliber and expect to win.”
Croasmun led the cold-shooting Lady Red Devils against the Rams, scoring 20 of the team’s 31 points.
The following afternoon, the Lady Red Devils played a tough first half, only trailing by three points at intermission, before falling prey to the Wolves in a 41-10 second-half shellacking on their way to a 63-29 defeat.
Chacon said the team ran out of energy halfway through the game as several players were still battling illness, including senior Brook Schultz, who sat out the game after playing through her illness on senior recognition night the night before.
“Third game in a week, there are NBA teams that don’t do that,” Chacon said. “I could tell at halftime that they were completely gassed.”
Hansen and junior Symony Call each scored nine points in the loss, as the Wolves held Croasmun, who averages 14.3 points per game, to only two points.
“(The Rams) are well coached and they’ve got Peyton Torgerson, who is difficult to stop,” Chacon said. “She drew our defense in and kicked it out to the wings, and they made their outside jumpers, which doesn’t always happen.”
Torgerson only scored 13 points, but she aided teammate Kodi Curtis in a 20-point output, including four three-pointers.
Chacon said he was pleased with Grand’s effort, even though the Lady Red Devils went winless on the week.
“It’s not the same competition from the week before,” he said. “We were playing the top three teams in region and that’s a tall order. When you play 30 percent of your region schedule in one week, that’s ludicrous in my opinion.”
The Lady Red Devils have a chance this coming week to get back on track and solidify their spot in the playoffs as they play Wasatch Academy in Pleasant Grove on Thursday, Jan. 29, and San Juan in Blanding on Wednesday, Feb. 3, the two teams behind them in the Region 15 standings.
“I’ve said it before and I truly believe we play the toughest region in 2A; any team can beat any other team on any given night,” Chacon said. “We struggled with Wasatch Academy at home and they’ve got something to prove on their home floor.”
“We’ve got to stop people. Our goal is to hold teams to less than 40 points. If we do that, we’ve got a good chance to win.”
Lady Red Devils sit at fourth place halfway through region play
“It’s not the same competition from the week before. We were playing the top three teams in region and that’s a tall order. When you play 30 percent of your region schedule in one week, that’s ludicrous in my opinion.”