Junior Jonathan Park handles the ball versus Monticello on Thursday, Dec. 3. The Buckaroos defeated Grand 68-48. [Photo by Murice D. Miller / Moab Sun News]

The Grand County Red Devils boys basketball team suffered a trio of losses to begin the season, falling 68-48 at home to Monticello on Thursday, Dec. 3, followed by a pair of losses at the Eagle Classic in Duchesne on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 4 and 5. Grand lost 53-46 to Duchesne and 66-42 to Rich.

Coach Scott Horton said the Red Devils played well against the Buckaroos for three quarters in the opener, before Monticello’s size and strength advantages finally paid dividends.

“We played well against Monticello for three quarters,” he said. “Their size killed us. They’re a lot bigger and stronger than we are and we just couldn’t keep up.”

Senior Brendan Bennett led the effort for Grand, scoring 14 points and collecting 4 steals. Sophomore Alec Williams added 11 points.

Against Duchesne, the Red Devils were close with a chance to win late, Horton said, but Grand was unable to seal the deal.

“We had the lead against Duchesne and just couldn’t hold onto it,” he said. “Our guards played well. We just have to learn to finish at the rim.”

Bennett and senior Brayden Ward each scored 11 points, Williams added 10 and junior Christian Wilson pitched in with 9 points.

On Saturday, the Red Devils lost 66-42 to Rich. Bennett led the team in scoring with 12 points, while Ward added 11 points.

Horton had high praise for captain Bennett through the first three games.

“His motor goes 100 miles per hour at all times,” he said. “He doesn’t quit. He’s the captain and that’s why he’s the captain. He doesn’t talk much, just plays. His play sets the example for how the rest of the team should play.”

Horton also had praise for Williams, who stepped into a starting role because of injuries.

“Alec was put into the starting lineup when Kenyon Birdwell tore his ACL and he ran the point really well,” Horton said.

Despite starting 0-3, Horton said the Red Devils are “well above” where they were at this time last season, which was his first as coach.

“Brayden Ward is our senior shooter and he’s been just a little bit off so far,” Horton said. “But once he finds his shot, we’ll be all right.”

The Red Devils defeated Green River 65-37 in Moab on Tuesday, Dec. 8. They’re next scheduled to play in a tournament in Gunnison on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 18 and 19.

Red Devils fall to Buckaroos, drop pair of games at Eagle Classic