The Grand County High School boys basketball team went 1-1 in Region 15 play on their home court over the weekend, defeating Richfield 55-52 on Friday, Feb. 1, before falling 55-46 to South Sevier the following afternoon.
In the victory on Friday, the Grand County High School (GCHS) Red Devils fended off the Wildcats’ second-half rally with a high free throw percentage and timely three-point shots. Senior Kevin Park scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds, making four three-point shots in the contest. Senior Cameron Hoppensteadt scored 19 points and had 17 rebounds. Hoppensteadt made nine of his 10 free throw attempts.
“Cam’s been shooting well from the free throw line,” GCHS boys basketball coach Scott Horton said. “Their bigs couldn’t stay with Cam. It was a mismatch and whenever they doubled down on him, he kicked it out for an open three-point attempt.”
The following afternoon, the Red Devils’ poor shooting, at 27 percent, didn’t allow them to overcome a 10-point disadvantage from the free throw line, as they lost 55-46. The Rams of South Sevier went 22-of-34 from the line, while GCHS hit a higher percentage, but took fewer than half as many shots, connecting on 12-of-15.
“They got the calls,” Horton said. “We either just didn’t get calls or didn’t go to the basket hard enough to get fouled.”
Hoppensteadt battled foul trouble throughout the game, amassing only four points and five rebounds. Senior Tyson Horton scored 16 points, while senior Teddy Park had nine and senior Nolan Ramirez had eight. Junior Kaine Allred picked up the slack on the glass with 11 rebounds. Kevin Park cooled from one day to the next, missing all six of his three-point shot attempts.
The split puts the GCHS Red Devils sixth in the region standings with two games remaining, a home game versus Emery that was scheduled to take place Wednesday, Feb. 6; and at San Juan on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 4 p.m.
The GCHS Red Devils could move up to fourth in the region standings by beating both teams and getting a San Juan victory over Emery in their head-to-head game on Friday, Feb. 8. The Red Devils defeated San Juan 84-79 in Moab in their first meeting on Jan. 23, but the Red Devils lost 81-70 at Emery on Jan. 16. If the Red Devils win both games and Emery beats San Juan, then the Spartans and Red Devils would have a coin flip over the No. 4 and 5 seeds from the region.
Horton said that no matter which seed the Red Devils end up with, the eventual state champion will have to go through Region 15.
“If we can take care of Emery, we can move up a spot,” he said. “Right now we’d be facing the No. 1 team in Region 14, which is Providence Hall, who we beat pretty handily (59-44 on Dec. 1, 2018) early on in the season. After that we’d be playing the No. 2 seed from our own region.”
The Region 15 No. 5 seed plays the second-place team from Region 14 in the first round, while the Region 14 No. 4 seed plays the Region 13 No. 2 seed.
After the first-round game on Saturday, Feb. 16, the remainder of the state tournament takes place Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 21-23, at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield.
Region 15 standings as of Monday, Feb. 4
Manti 17-4, 7-3
South Sevier 15-4, 7-3
Richfield 12-7, 7-3
Emery 13-6, 5-5
San Juan 13-7, 5-5
Grand 13-6, 4-6
North Sanpete 4-15, 0-10
Playoff seeding to be decided over final two games