The Grand County High School boys basketball team overcame a pair of slow starts at the Cortez Invitational, beating Ignacio, Colorado, 56-48 on Friday, Dec. 15, and Montezuma-Cortez, Colorado, 68-65 on Saturday, Dec. 16, despite trailing by double digits in the first half of each game.
Against Ignacio, the Red Devils fell behind 15-5 by the end of the first quarter, but outscored the Bobcats 15-4 in the second quarter to go into halftime with a 1-point lead.
“We started out slow – we couldn’t buy a basket,” Grand boys basketball coach Scott Horton said. “At the start of the second quarter, we got on a run and took the lead.”
The Red Devils extended their lead to 12 points by the fourth quarter before being outscored 22-18 in the final frame. Horton said the Red Devils got a boost from prolific 3-point shooting by senior Masen Ward and junior Teddy Park. Ward scored 14 points and Park had 11. Senior Brayden Schultz and juniors Cameron Hoppensteadt and Tyson Horton each scored eight points. The Red Devils went 20-for-22 from the free-throw line.
The following day, the Red Devils and host Panthers played a close first quarter before the Panthers pulled away with a 21-12 second, taking a 38-27 lead into intermission. After a defensive adjustment, the Red Devils outscored the Panthers 24-6 in the third quarter, turning an 11-point deficit into a 7-point lead.
“(The Panthers) have a couple of kids who can really score and we weren’t playing our kind of defense,” Scott Horton said. “In the third quarter we switched to ‘X’ defense where we have one guy stay on their best player and take him out of the picture.”
Schultz had 18 points, while senior Alec Williams added 15, Ward scored 8 and Hoppensteadt had 7 points and 9 rebounds.
Earlier in the week, the Red Devils took a trip south and beat Monticello 54-44 on the strength of 14 points and 9 rebounds from Ward, 10 points and 6 rebounds from Hoppensteadt and 9 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists from Williams.
With one game left before Region 15 play begins (at Green River on Wednesday, Dec. 20), the Red Devils are 6-1 and on a six-game winning streak.
“That’s our depth coming into play,” Scott Horton said. “We’ve got to start better and finish better. We want to be firing on all cylinders. We still haven’t put together a whole four quarters of good basketball in a game.”
Grand begins Region 15 play at home versus San Juan on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, at 7 p.m.
Grand extends win streak to six games
What: Grand boys basketball versus San Juan
When: Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, at 7 p.m.
Where: Grand County High School gymnasium, 608 S. 400 East