The Grand County High School boys basketball team won its final two regular season games, defeating Emery 94-82 in Moab on Wednesday, Feb. 6, then beating San Juan 80-77 on Saturday, Feb. 9, to finish the regular season tied with Emery for the No. 4 spot in the Region 15 Standings.
The Grand County High School (GCHS) Red Devils’ pair of wins, combined with Emery beating San Juan 84-74 on Friday, Feb. 8, left both Grand County High School and Emery at 6-6 in the standings. The Spartans won a coin toss for the No. 4 seed in the state 3A playoffs.
Against the Spartans on senior night, GCHS came out on fire, scoring 33 points in the first quarter. The Spartans slowly chipped away at the double-digit lead the Red Devils had built, eventually tying the game in the second half, but were never able to take the lead after briefly leading to begin the game. The Red Devils scored 30 points in the fourth quarter to put away the Spartans.
“It’s senior night in our house,” GCHS boys basketball coach Scott Horton said. “It was a big deal for us to come out shooting well and make a statement.”
The Red Devils shot a blistering 56 percent from the field for the contest, including a 12-of-25 mark from three-point shots. Five GCHS players, all seniors, scored in double digits, led by Connor Guerrero’s 26 points, many of which helped put away the Spartans late.
Kevin Park had 20 points, Tyson Horton had 17 points, and Cameron Hoppensteadt and Teddy Park each had 12 points.
“Every senior played well, they all had a good game,” coach Horton said. “We’ve battled that team for so long and always came up short, but the last two years, we beat ’em at home on senior night.”
After the Spartans beat San Juan in Blanding on Feb. 8, the winner of the GCHS/San Juan game on Feb. 9 was assured a coin toss with the Spartans, while the loser was assured the No. 6 seed as both the Red Devils and Broncos were 5-6 at the time and both had split the season series with the 6-6 Spartans. The Red Devils once again started and finished strong, scoring 22 points in the first quarter and 26 in the fourth quarter, holding off the Broncos in Blanding 80-77.
Hoppensteadt filled the stat sheet with 20 points, 12 rebounds and five assists, while Tyson Horton scored 16 points, making four three-pointers for the second straight game. Fellow senior Nolan Ramirez “had an exceptional game,” coach Horton said, notching 15 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals, while drawing four charging calls against San Juan.
“He scored, he assisted, he played good defense, he stayed out of foul trouble,” Horton said. “It’s nice when you have a point guard able to stay on the floor and keep the offense going. Taking four charges — that’s him giving himself up for the team.”
Coach Horton said that despite losing the coin toss to the Spartans for the No. 4 seed, the Red Devils like where they’re positioned heading into the playoffs.
“We like where we’re at. We’re in a good spot,” he said. “It didn’t matter whether we were fourth or fifth, we still like our first-round matchup and we’re still likely to play a team from Region 15 in the second round.”
GCHS plays Region 14 No. 2 seed Union in the first round of the state tournament on Saturday, Feb. 16, 6:30 p.m., at Orem High School, with the winner moving on to championship weekend against either South Summit or Emery in the quarterfinals on Thursday, Feb. 21, at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield. The tournament culminates in the state 3A title game on Saturday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m.
“We’ve come together at the right time,” Horton said. “We’re comfortable against Union and we’re comfortable in round two. We like where we’re at. We’re right where we want to be.”
Red Devils to play Union in playoff’s first round
“It’s senior night in our house.”
Region 15 Final Regular Season Standings
Richfield 14-7, 9-3
Manti 18-5, 8-4
South Sevier 16-5, 8-4
Emery 14-7, 6-6
GCHS 15-6, 6-6
San Juan 13-9, 5-7
North Sanpete 4-17, 0-12
GCHS lost a coin flip with Emery for fourth place in the final region standings on Saturday, Feb. 9.