The Grand County High School boys and girls basketball teams each began the Region 15 portion of their schedules with games on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 4 and 5, versus Manti and North Sanpete.
The Grand County High School (GCHS) boys hosted the Templars and Hawks, while the girls took to the road. The boys lost to Manti 75-63 before beating North Sanpete 67-60, while the girls lost in lopsided fashion 70-48 at Manti and 63-30 at North Sanpete.
Injuries continued to mount for the Lady Red Devils, stifling their chances of getting off to a good start in region play. With senior Annabelle Garrett already on the shelf, fellow senior and GCHS leading scorer Hannah Owen rolled her ankle in practice on Thursday, Jan. 3, causing her to miss both of the team’s weekend games, coach Randy Martin said.
“We struggled mightily without her,” Martin said. “She’s such a big part of what we do both offensively and defensively.”
GCHS had three players score in double digits versus Manti: Veda Gritts (18 points), Mercedes Zunich (16 points) and Josie Camps (12 points). The following afternoon, Gritts again led the charge, scoring 13 points.
The Red Devil boys played inconsistently in their first weekend of region action, suffering their first loss of the year against the Templars, 75-63, despite leading 31-30 at halftime.
The Red Devils began to falter late in the second quarter with fouls and turnovers, a rut that continued through the fourth quarter before they got back on track too late to close the gap. Senior Cameron Hoppensteadt scored 13 points to lead the team, while senior Connor Guerrero scored 12 and senior Kevin Park had 11, to go along with four steals. Collectively, the Red Devils turned the ball over 15 times.
“There are no nights off in our region,” GCHS boys basketball coach Scott Horton said. “If you don’t show up and play the whole game, you’re in trouble.”
The following day, the Red Devils struggled early in the contest versus North Sanpete, particularly with fouls, having to sub early and often. GCHS stormed back after the halftime however, allowing only nine points in the third quarter and outscoring the Hawks 45-29 for the half. Hoppensteadt and Guerrero both scored 16 points with Hoppensteadt also grabbing 10 rebounds. Park had 12 points, while seniors Nolan Ramirez and Teddy Park each scored nine.
“We play a lot of man-to-man defense so if someone gets beaten on the dribble, someone else has to step over and help, and if that person is out of position, we’ll find ourselves in trouble,” Horton said, alluding to the Red Devils’ foul struggles.
Both basketball teams play traditional powerhouses South Sevier, Richfield and Emery over the course of the next week, although this week, the boys and girls games won’t be with the same opponents at the same times. The boys play at Richfield on Friday, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m.; at South Sevier on Saturday, Jan. 12, at 4 p.m.; and at Emery Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m. The girls host South Sevier on Friday, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m.; Richfield on Saturday, Jan. 12, at 4 p.m.; and Emery on Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m.
For both basketball teams, getting healthy is a focal point going forward.
“We’re just trying to get a couple kids healthy and work on what we do,” Horton said. “We don’t concern ourselves too much with what the other teams do. We only worry about what we do as a team. That’s what we can control.”
Martin said he would find out on Wednesday, Jan. 9, whether Owen would be available this weekend, and that the team has a game plan in place either way.
“These three teams are very fast teams,” Martin said. “We plan to slow things down and keep the score low as much as we can.”