The Grand County High School boys basketball team will look to begin its first season in 3A on a high note when the Red Devils play their first home game of the season on Tuesday, Nov. 28, against the Green River Pirates in non-region action.
The Red Devils aim to continue their transformation from bottom-dweller to contender under coach Scott Horton. Last year, after not winning a Region 15 game in 2014 or 2015, Grand tied for second in the region with a 7-3 record. Grand finished 16-8 overall, winning a play-in game before getting ousted in the state quarterfinals. This year, Horton said Grand’s goal is to win a game beyond the play-in game. Horton said that for the team to achieve that goal, the Red Devils must play strong defense.
“We have a lot of good defenders, so I think we can reach that goal,” he said.
The Red Devils will face a few familiar foes in the new Region 15 as Emery, Manti and San Juan also made the jump from 2A to 3A. Other teams in the region include North Sanpete, Richfield and South Sevier. The Spartans from Emery won the region title last year, going 9-1 with their lone loss coming to San Juan, the team that tied Grand at 7-3.
Horton said the Red Devils like the way they match up against other Region 15 teams and believe they can beat any of them, including the reigning champion Spartans and the South Sevier Rams, the No. 1 team in 3A in the preseason coaches’ poll.
“I’m pretty confident going against those teams,” he said. “(The Spartans) were senior-loaded last year and we weren’t, so I think this year we’ll beat them.”
Grand lost three starters to graduation, but most of the offensive production is returning. The Red Devils will be led by seniors Brayden Schultz, Alec Williams, Masen Ward and Josh Jones. Schultz averaged 10.5 points per game in 2016, while Williams (9.23 points per game) and Ward (7.6 points per game) were also major contributors. The Red Devils got significant work from now-juniors Nolan Ramirez, Cameron Hoppensteadt and Kevin Park in 2016 as well. Juniors Tyson Horton and Teddy Park are expected to round out the varsity rotation, Scott Horton said.
The Red Devils began the season with a loss on the road versus Union on Tuesday, Nov. 21. In last year’s season opener, Grand beat Union in Moab 46-44 on the strength of a late game-winning 3-pointer from Kevin Park. The Red Devils played at Green River last season, beating the Pirates 103-55. In that game, Ramirez had 11 points and Schultz had 10 to lead current Red Devils.
Tip-off for the first boys game in the Devils’ Den of the 2017-18 season is set for 7 p.m. on Nov. 28.
Grand a confident contender in 3A Region 15
What: Red Devil boys basketball versus Green River
When: Tuesday, Nov. 28, at 7 p.m.
Where: Grand County High School gymnasium, 608 S. 400 East