by Walter & Becky Bird
On Friday, Nov. 16 and Saturday, Nov. 17, the Monticello girls basketball team commenced the 2018 season in Richfield, where they participated in the annual 1A preview.
The preview invites most of the top 1A teams to square off in early season action. Generally, the preview is a great opportunity for the 1A teams to assess each other, but rarely is a great predictor about how the season plays out and ends up.
This season, Monticello had a tough draw when they were scheduled to play two of the top-ranked teams in 1A.
On Friday, the Lady Bucks tipped off against this year’s top-ranked and last year’s 1A state champ, Panguitch. Panguitch returns a lot of talent from last year’s squad, and Monticello knew they had to play well to be in the game.
Monticello came out aggressive and played well early and trailed only 9-6 after one quarter of play. Tymbr Black, Brooklyn Holt, and Adri Lewis all had buckets in the first quarter.
Panguitch stretched its lead out to 24-15 at halftime when they outscored the Lady Bucks 15-9 in the second quarter. Monticello was paced by Tristen Esplin with three points and Journey Baird, Brooklyn Holt, and Tymbr Black with two points each in the quarter.
In the second half, Monticello hit an offensive dry spell and was outscored by Panguitch 12-8 in the quarter to trail 36-19 after three quarters. One bright spot of the quarter is Tristen Esplin’s lone three of the game and the first of the season for the team.
Monticello picked up the pace in the final quarter only losing it by three points.
Ultimately, the Lady Bucks dropped the game 47-27, but they showed better play in the final quarter and Brooklyn Holt had the largest scoring quarter of the game, pouring in six points.
Offensively, Brooklyn Holt recorded a double-double when she led the team with 11 points on 71.4 percent shooting and pulled down ten rebounds.
Tristen Esplin and Tymbr Black both scored six points apiece, with Esplin recording one trey. Black had four rebounds and Esplin had three boards and two assists.
Others scoring are Journey Baird and Adri Lewis with two-points apiece. Megan Black is the top assist disher on the team, ending the game with three assists.
Coach Kraig Black is pleased with how the girls started the game but knows his team needs to maintain that intensity throughout the game to get where they want to go this season.
The next day, the Lady Bucks tipped off against the fourth-ranked Milford Tigers. Unlike the day before, Monticello came out flat and got buried early, trailing Milford 15-1 after the first period of play.
Tymbr Black’s free-throw was the only scoring for Monticello in the quarter.
Monticello came out much better in the next quarter and won the first quarter of its young season, outscoring the Tigers 6-4, but still trailed Milford 19-7 at the half.
Adri Lewis and Journey Baird had two-point baskets in the quarter and Brooklyn Holt made two free throws.
In the third quarter, the Tigers got clicking again and took the quarter over Monticello 10-6 to stretch its lead to 29-13 after three-quarters of play. Megan Black hit a three in the quarter and Tristen Esplin a two-pointer.
The final quarter went much like the third quarter when Monticello was outscored by Milford 11-7 and ended up losing the game 40-20.
Brooklyn Holt had three points in the quarter and Tymbr Black a pair of free-throws. Saydee Adams broke into the scoring column, tossing in her first bucket of the season.
Brooklyn Holt led all scorers with six points. Megan and Tymbr Black had three points apiece, with Megan’s lone bucket being a three-pointer. Tristen Esplin, Journey Baird, and Saydee Adams all had two points in the game.
Again, Coach Black was pleased with the team play in parts of the game and not others. He pointed out that after his team got down big after the first period, they came alive and played the Tigers more evenly the rest of the way.
All in all, the preview was a valuable experience for the team and a great learning tool they can use to build on as the season progresses.
Speaking of which, the Lady Buck will again be in action again on Tuesday, Nov. 27 when they host Grand in Monticello for Varsity, JV, and C games.
MVHS girls basketball
The Deseret News 1A No. 5 ranked Monument Valley Cougars played well at the 1A preview, coming away with a 1-1 record.
In action on November 16, the Cougars played the Valley Buffaloes and came away with a 65-54 win.
Paced by Jamika Nelson’s 21 points, as well as Ervianne Cly’s 18 points and Bertilena Atene’s 14 points, the Cougars easily outpaced Valley to go 1-0 on the young season.
The next night, the Cougars got a shot at the top-ranked Panguitch Bobcats. Monument Valley played well and led for parts of the first half, but ultimately fell to the Bobcats 63-47. No box score was available at press time.
One take-away from the preview is that the Lady Cougars and the Lady Bucks are on a certain collision course for the Region 19 championship and for the right to claim one of the top seeds in the 1A state tournament in late February. It should be fun to watch.