Cameron Hoppensteadt scored 23 points to lead the Grand County High School boys basketball team to a 69-56 win over the Carbon Dinos in the 3A play-in game on Saturday, Feb. 17, which earned the Red Devils a berth in state quarterfinals. Meanwhile, the Lady Red Devils’ season came to an end with a 44-22 loss to Juab in their play-in game on Friday, Feb. 16. Both games took place at Wasatch High School in Heber City.
The Red Devils (17-5, 8-4) had a relatively slim six-point lead at halftime over the Dinos, but they dominated the third quarter, outscoring Carbon (6-17, 5-7) 23-11 to extend the lead to 18 at 47-29 going into the fourth quarter. Grand led by as many as 23 points before coach Scott Horton unloaded the bench, rewarding backups and underclassmen with postseason playing time.
In addition to Hoppensteadt, a trio of seniors filled the stat sheet for Grand as Alec Williams and Masen Ward each had 12 points and Brayden Schultz had eight points and 10 rebounds.
The Red Devils went 18-of-21 from the free throw line and out-rebounded the Dinos 32-25, which helped them take nine more field goal attempts than the opposition. Horton said the Red Devils only took one free throw shot in the first half, making their 18-of-20 second-half clip even more impressive.
“That’s where games are determined is at the line,” he said, adding a reference to the other 3A play-in game between the Union Cougars and Grantsville Cowboys, in which the Cougars went 21-of-39 from the line and lost the game to the Cowboys 68-59. “You aren’t going to win many games doing that.”
In addition to poor shooting from Union, the Cowboys got 30 points from Brady Arbon and enjoyed a substantial rebounding advantage over the Cougars. The Cowboys shot 60 percent (23-of-38) from the field.
The Cowboys and Red Devils will battle in the quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 22, at 9:30 a.m., at Dixie State University in St. George. Similar to the Red Devils, the Cowboys are making their way up the 3A ranks under fourth-year coach Bryan Detweiler, having finally made it to the quarterfinals after falling in the play-in game three straight years. This is Grand’s second straight trip to the state quarterfinals under third-year coach Scott Horton after not appearing in championship weekend for about two decades before he took the reins. Last year, the Red Devils lost 65-40 to Summit Academy to fall into the consolation bracket.
“Last year we set our goal to win a play-in game,” Horton said. “We reached that goal and didn’t know what (to) do once we got to state. This year, come Thursday, they’ll be ready to play and looking to go deep in the tournament.”
The Cowboys have a 14-10 record, including a 3-5 mark in Region 13, giving them a No. 4 seed going into the tournament. Horton said the Red Devils’ plan to prevent another shooting performance like Grantsville had in the play-in game is to play man-to-man defense instead of zone defense.
“Almost everyone they’ve played does a zone defense,” he said. “We play man-to-man so we’ve got a lot more people around the ball. (The Cowboys) live and die on the drive. They don’t have a lot of people shooting outside shots. We’ve got (Hoppensteadt and Schultz) down there in the paint and they can block a lot of shots.”
The winner between the Red Devils and Cowboys will play the Morgan-Manti winner in the semifinal on Friday, Feb. 23, at 9:30 p.m., while the losers of the respective games will play each other in the consolation bracket at 2:30 p.m. The state title game will be on Saturday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m.
In the girls game versus Juab, Grand was led by junior Annabelle Garrett, who scored seven points and had eight rebounds, while fellow junior Veda Gritts had five points and seven rebounds. The Lady Red Devils had an awful night shooting the ball, making less than 25 percent of their shots. Neither team got to the line much as Grand went 6-of-11 and Juab went 5-of-9 from the free throw line.
The Lady Red Devils finished their season with an 8-14 record, including a 4-8 mark in Region 15 play. They were led in scoring by junior Hannah Owen, who averaged 13.37 points per game. Gritts averaged 12.86 points and 12.59 rebounds per game.
Boys to play Grantsville, girls fall to Juab in play-in game