The Grand County Red Devils basketball team fell behind early and couldn’t make comebacks, losing its final two games in the 2A state tournament to end its season. The team fell 65-40 to Summit Academy in the state quarterfinals on Thursday, Feb. 23, then lost 69-55 to South Sevier in the consolation round.
In both games, coach Scott Horton said the Red Devils shot poorly in the first half, thanks in part to playoff jitters.
“In both games we didn’t shoot very well in the first half,” Horton said. “It’s been 20 years since we made it to state, so they were nervous and it showed. As a complete game, we just didn’t play how we normally play.”
Versus the Bears in the quarterfinals, Grand trailed 15-5 after one quarter and was never really able to cut into the deficit. The Bears added a couple buckets to their lead in the middle quarters before pulling away to cap off the rout in the fourth quarter.
Red Devil junior Brayden Schultz scored 18 points, while junior Masen Ward had 7 and junior Alec Williams scored 6.
The following day, the Red Devils found themselves down 32-16 at halftime as their shooting woes continued. The Red Devils outscored the Rams in the second half, but it was too late, as South Sevier won 69-55 to advance to the fifth-place game.
Grand had four players each finish with 11 points in their final game of the season: senior Kenyon Birdwell, junior Josh Jones, Schultz and Williams.
Grand finished the 2016-17 campaign with a 16-8 overall record, including the playoffs. Layton Christian Academy defeated Waterford 59-41 on Saturday, Feb. 25, to win this year’s 2A state title.
Despite faltering, Horton said Grand will benefit from having made the state tournament.
“I don’t look at these games as losses,” he said. “We gained a ton of experience. We plan to be back next year with a little more confidence, having been here before.”
Horton praised the Red Devils for their toughness and desire to win.
“I’m proud of the team. They battled all year long and we beat some teams we haven’t normally beaten,” he said. “We’re headed in the right direction.”
Grand finishes ’16-’17 with 16-8 record
“I don’t look at these games as losses. We gained a ton of experience. We plan to be back next year with a little more confidence, having been here before.”