The Grand County High School boys basketball team split a pair of Region 15 road games last weekend, winning the first in lopsided fashion, 84-48, over North Sanpete, before losing 82-68 to Manti the following day.
The Grand County High School (GCHS) Red Devils got off to a hot start against the Hawks, mounting a 22-11 lead after a quarter of play, to which they steadily added.
“We only beat them by seven points at home the first time around,” GCHS boys basketball coach Scott Horton said. “They’ve got a pair of really good players. I put our two best defenders on them and clamped them down.”
GCHS senior Cameron Hoppensteadt had a monster night, collecting 25 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots. Three other seniors also scored double digits: Kevin Park had 16 points, Tyson Horton had 12 points and Nolan Ramirez had 11 points.
“They had no answer for Cam, and Cam is also able to pass the ball if he’s covered, and our 3-pointer was falling,” Horton said. “We were able to play inside out, which is how we like to play.”
The GCHS Red Devils were on the short end of a fast start the following day, only scoring five first-quarter points and falling behind by 19 points after just one quarter, a lead which proved to be insurmountable.
“I feel like we should have won both games, but you can’t spot a team 19 points and expect to win the game,” Horton said, adding that he believed the Red Devils fell behind because they played Manti’s tempo instead of forcing the Templars to slow down and play the Red Devils’ preferred pace.
The Red Devils return to their own friendly confines for three games this week as the region slate winds down and the playoffs loom. GCHS plays host to Richfield on Friday, Feb. 1; South Sevier on Saturday, Feb. 2; and Emery on Wednesday, Feb. 6. Start times for Richfield and Emery are at 7 p.m., while the South Sevier game tips off at 4 p.m.
“We’ve got to take care of home court,” Horton said. “When you go out on the road, you hope for a split, but you’ve got to take care of business at home. Plus, we need confidence that we can beat good teams. We’ve beaten teams that have beaten good teams so we know we can beat them.”
Horton said he hopes for a packed gym in support of the Red Devils.
“We want everyone to come out and get loud, get rowdy for the boys,” he said.
GCHS back at home versus region’s top teams
“We want everyone to come out and get loud.”
Region 15 standings as of Monday, Jan. 28:
Richfield 11-6, 6-2
South Sevier 13-3, 5-2
Manti 15-4, 6-3
Emery 12-5, 4-4
San Juan 12-6, 4-4
Grand 12-5, 3-5
North Sanpete 4-13, 0-8
What: GCHS boys basketball versus Richfield
When: Friday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m.
What: GCHS boys basketball versus South Sevier
When: Saturday, Feb. 2, at 4 p.m.
What: GCHS boys basketball versus Emery
When: Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m.
Where: All events take place at the Grand County High School gymnasium, 608 S. 400 East