Grand senior Masen Ward shoots the ball against Emery on Wednesday, Jan. 17, in Moab, a game the Red Devils won 90-86. Ward scored seven points. [Photo by Tim Chappell / Moab Sun News]

Grand juniors Cameron Hoppensteadt and Kevin Park each scored 17 points as part of a total team effort that saw the Red Devils defeat the Emery Spartans 90-86 in Moab on Wednesday, Jan. 17, to earn a share of the Region 15 lead and a No. 2 ranking in the 3A division from the Deseret News.

The Red Devils and Spartans played close throughout the contest as several different Red Devil players stepped up as scoring threats during different parts of the game. Hoppensteadt trickled in points here and there to reach his game total of 17, while Park came in off the bench during the second quarter and quickly scored 14 straight points on four three-pointers. He added a fifth trey at the end of the third quarter to finish with 17 points.

Park’s spark off the bench and a big first quarter from senior Josh Jones helped lead Grand to a 42-37 halftime advantage. Jones scored nine points in the first quarter, including a buzzer-beater as time expired. He finished the game with 16 points.

“The whole thing with Park is ‘who are you gonna stop?’” Grand boys basketball coach Scott Horton said. “Emery couldn’t have prepared for a guy to come in off the bench and hit five three-pointers.”

Emery took the lead back in the third quarter, outscoring the Red Devils 28-20 before Park’s buzzer-beater sent the game into the fourth quarter tied at 65-65.

Grand took a 78-77 lead on a three-pointer from senior Alec Williams with 1:33 left in the game, after which Emery intentionally fouled the Red Devils every time they touched the ball the rest of the game. The Red Devils didn’t have the late-game success at the free throw line that they had in their prior region contests, but they made enough free throws to earn the 90-86 victory. Prior to the Grand win, the Red Devils had not beaten the Spartans in this millennium, going 0-16 in eight years as region foes.

“Emery’s a good team and they’re well coached – they want to win the game as bad as we do,” Horton said. “They did the right thing fouling us every time and we let ’em hang around by not hitting our foul shots. In our region, the game is never over until there’s nothing but zeros on the scoreboard.”

Overall, Grand hit 22 out of 34 foul shots, outscoring Emery (19-of-24) by three points. The Red Devils hit 10 three-pointers in the game, while the Spartans hit seven. Williams scored 15 points and senior Brayden Schultz had 12 points, giving the Red Devils five players in double figures scoring.

“It’s a luxury to have a bench where anybody can come in and score,” Horton said.

The Red Devils (12-3, 4-2 Region 15) are tied with South Sevier and Manti for the region lead in the standings as each team has played each other team one of two times. The Red Devils earned the No. 2 ranking in 3A behind Morgan after their 4-0 home stand in Region play.

“We went from not being ranked at all to being ranked No. 2,” Horton said. “It’s really good for the guys. They deserved it. They played really hard.”

Grand was scheduled to play at San Juan on Wednesday, Jan. 24. The Red Devils play their final two home games against North Sanpete (11-5, 3-3) on Friday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m., and Manti (12-4, 4-2) on Saturday, Jan. 27, at 4 p.m., giving them an opportunity on their home floor this weekend to avenge both of their two region losses.

“We’ve kept that North Sanpete film close as an example of how not to play basketball,” Horton said. “We want to avenge those two losses and we want to protect our home floor.”

Grand ranked No. 2 in 3A

“Prior to the Grand win, the Red Devils had not beaten the Spartans in this millennium, going 0-16 in eight years as region foes.”

When: Friday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m.

What: Red Devil boys basketball versus Manti

When: Saturday, Jan. 27, at 4 p.m.

Where: Grand County High School gymnasium, 608 S. 400 East