The Grand County High School boys basketball varsity team poses for a picture after going undefeated at the “Rumble in the Jungle” tournament in Cortez, Colorado, which took place on Friday and Saturday, June 8 and 9. Pictured from left: Luke Williams, Milo Birdwell, Dylan Shocknmyer, Connor Guerrero, Cameron Hoppensteadt, Kaine Allred, Nolan Ramirez, Eli Hazlett, Tyson Horton and coach Scott Horton. The Red Devils defeated host Cortez 51-38 in the tournament final. [Photo courtesy of Jennifer Horton]

The Grand County High School boys basketball team went 4-0 in varsity play and 2-2 in junior varsity play at the “Rumble in the Jungle” tournament in Cortez, Colorado, which took place Friday and Saturday, June 8 and 9. The Red Devil varsity team won the tournament title, while junior varsity placed fourth in its bracket.

The varsity team beat Dolores, Colorado, 46-22 in its opening game on Friday, June 8. The following day, the Red Devils played three games, defeating Rock Point, Arizona, 53-37; Pagosa Springs, Colorado, 56-39; and Cortez, Colorado, 51-38, in the tournament final.

Grand boys basketball coach Scott Horton said his senior leaders shined in the tournament. This year’s seniors are Cameron Hoppensteadt, Connor Guerrero, Nolan Ramirez and Tyson Horton. Scott Horton said in Cortez, Hoppensteadt was the Red Devils’ standout player.

“They’re just really good, athletic players,” he said. “Cam was our MVP. He played really well every game.”

The coach praised his departing seniors from last season for preparing this year’s elder statesmen to lead the team. Last year’s seniors were Alec Williams, Masen Ward, Brayden Schultz and Josh Jones.

“Those four seniors we lost this year — what’s great about them is they built up the next guys coming in,” he said.

In junior varsity play, the Red Devils defeated Rehoboth, New Mexico, 40-25 on Friday, June 8. On Saturday, they lost 49-31 to Pagosa Springs, beat “Insanity” 40-38 and lost the third-place game in a rematch with Rehoboth 37-32.

Coach Horton praised sophomores Chasee Croasmun, Ryelan Denney and Tyler Bohannon for the way they mentored the freshmen players at the tournament.

“It was good to see our sophomores be leaders to the young guys coming in and learning the system,” he said. “We were out-manned and still took fourth.”

The Red Devils attended a four-day camp at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction on Monday, June 11 through Thursday, June 14. The Red Devils were bringing 22 players to the camp and fielding teams in varsity, junior varsity and freshmen, with each team playing 10 games over the course of the four days. At last year’s camp, the Red Devil varsity team went 10-0.

“Last year, we played good teams from Rock Springs, Wyoming; Laramie, Wyoming; and Grand Junction,” coach Horton said. “Hopefully this year is more of the same.”

The Red Devils attend summer camps and tournaments because “you can’t simulate games in practice and open gym,” coach Horton said.

“It gives us continuity together with some of our lineups that haven’t played much together before,” he said. “Then during the season, when we sub in a player, the five guys on the floor are comfortable playing with each other at any given time.”

Coach Horton said the Red Devils have one more summer camp planned at South Sevier, where the Grand will get some exhibition playing time against some of their Region 15 rivals.

“We don’t rebuild, we reload,” coach Horton said. “This team is going to be just as good, if not better than last year. What we’re doing now is putting in the work.”

Three departing seniors got to participate in the annual high school football all-star game at Snow College in Ephraim on Friday, June 8. Representing 1A/2A in a 48-7 win over 3A were Gage Hansen, Nick Downard and Dakota Johnson. In football, the Red Devils compete in 2A, while in all other sports, they compete at the 3A level. Grand’s Stacy Randall, who will be a senior next season, earned All-State honorable mention from the 3A coaches as a defender on the boys soccer team.

Grand’s varsity goes undefeated at tourney in Colorado

“We don’t rebuild, we reload. This team is going to be just as good, if not better than last year. What we’re doing now is putting in the work.”