by Walter & Becky Bird
On Tuesday, January 22, the Bucks (8-6, 3-0) hosted the Whitehorse Raiders (0-2, 0-3) in a Region 19 tilt.
Monticello started the game with an offensive flurry, racing to a 23-10 first quarter lead over the Raiders. However, Whitehorse was not going to go away quietly as they turned the table, winning the second quarter to only trail 37-27 at the half.
The second half was fairly close with Monticello leading 54-41 after three quarters and ultimately 75-56 as the final horn sounded.
Monticello had an excellent shooting game, making 54.4 percent of their shot attempts. They were also 41.7 percent from behind the three-point arc.
The offensive sets were definitely working as almost half (34) of Monticello’s points came in the paint and at least half coming from assisted baskets (18).
In the game, Monticello exhibited very balanced scoring. Led by Lucas Hatch’s 19 points on nine of 11 shooting, Adam Bunker and Spencer Knudsen also had 17 points each in the winning effort.
Taylor Torgerson ended the game with 13 points. Bunker made three three-point shots with Hatch and Torgerson also hitting one apiece.
Closing out the scoring, Weston Nebeker finished with six points. Britton Brewer and Aaron Christiansen contributed two points and one foul shot.
After picking up the win, the Buckaroos (9-6, 4-0) traveled to Price on Friday, January 25 for another region game with the Pinnacle Panthers (3-11, 0-1).
The home team was ready at the tip, and the entire first period was a dog fight for Monticello. The Bucks played well, hitting some shots, but just couldn’t get much separation on the Panthers.
MHS led 17-13 after the first period and the second quarter wasn’t much different for Monticello. The Bucks continued to roll offensively, but the Panthers faltered and Monticello was able to take command of the game with a 37-23 at the half.
The Bucks kept things rolling in the third quarter, cruising to a 61-37 lead going into the final frame. The fourth quarter ended with a dominant 77-52 Buckaroo win over the Panthers.
Monticello shot the ball extremely well, canning 55.8 percent of shot attempts, including a terrific 54.5 percent three-point shooting average.
This can be partially explained by the good looks Monticello got leading to 44 points in the paint. The team also shared the ball well and ended the game with 18 assists.
The stat that sticks out the most is the balanced scoring from Monticello’s seniors. All the senior starters scored in double digits. The lone exception was Taylor Torgerson, who fell a point short.
Lucas Hatch led all scorers with 19 points. He hit four three-point baskets and ended the game with seven assists.
Adam Bunker scored 16 points and made two three-pointers. Weston Nebeker scored 15 points. Spencer Knudsen got 12 points and contributed six assists.
Taylor Torgerson scored nine points with Juniors Dylan Bird and Aaron Christiansen adding five and one respectively.
The win improved the Bucks to 10-6 overall and more importantly 5-0 in Region 19 play after going through the region schedule once.
This week is a light one for the Bucks. They hosted Monument Valley on Tuesday, January 29 in the MHS gymnasium. Next week, the team hits the road for Region 19 games at Whitehorse and Green River.
The Lady Bucks (3-9, 1-2) also hosted the Whitehorse Lady Raiders (7-3, 1-1) on Tuesday, January 22 in a key region game for both teams.
The game started out well for Monticello when the girls raced out to a 15-8 first period lead. However, a sluggish second quarter resulted in a 26-25 lead for Whitehorse at the half.
In the third, both teams struggled to put the ball in the hole. The teams combined for nine total points and headed into the final period deadlocked at 30-30.
Whitehorse got just enough offense in the fourth quarter to pull away and hold on for a 45-40 win.
Tymbr Black was the only Lady Buckaroo in double figures. She poured in 12 points with two threes. Journey Baird ended the game with nine points. Megan Black added seven points with one three-point basket.
Brooklyn Holt scored five points for the Lady Buckaroos in the loss. Rianna Shunway got four. Madison Freestone and Tristen Esplin rounded out the scoring with two points and one point respectively.
The loss dropped Monticello to fourth place in Region 19 behind Wayne, Whitehorse, and Monument Valley.
However, instead of hanging their heads, the ladies got back to work and headed north to take on the Pinnacle Lady Panthers (5-9, 0-1) in Price on Friday, January 25.
The timing of the Pinnacle game was just what the Lady Buckaroos needed to get back on track. The girls came out ready to play, surging to a 14-2 first quarter lead.
That lead grew to 29-7 at the half and MHS didn’t slow down from there. They outscored the Lady Panthers 28-11 in the second half to close out a 57-18 region win.
Monticello had one of their better shooting games of the year, making 34.2 percent of shot attempts with 33.3 percent of the made shots coming from three-point range. Another positive note is that the ladies shared the ball well; the team ended with 18 assists.
Three Lady Bucks scored in double digits for the game. Tymbr Black led the way with 17 points and three three-point baskets. Brooklyn Holt went for 11 points and impressively had four assists to go with eight rebounds and four steals.
Megan Black ended up with a double-double by scoring 10 points on five of eight shooting with 10 rebounds and four assists. Rianna Shumway scored eight points with one three-pointer and three assists.
Journey Baird scored seven points and ended the game with five rebounds. Madison Freestone and Tristen Esplin added a bucket apiece in the game.
Defensively, the Lady Bucks held Pinnacle to 11.8 percent shooting including zero percent from three-point land. Monticello forced 31 Lady Panther turnovers and swiped 17 steals.
The win improved the Lady Buckaroos to 4-10 overall and 2-3 in Region 19.
But the girls weren’t done. Instead of heading home with the boys, they stayed the night in Price.
Saturday they hopped back on the bus and traveled north to Tabiona for a matchup with the Tabiona Lady Tigers (5-11) from Region 22.
In a slow-scoring start, Monticello found themselves down 9-7 after the first period and 14-13 at the half. However, in a tale of two halves, the Lady Bucks owned the second half, outscoring the Lady Tigers 22-14 to secure a 35-28 non-region win.
It was another solid game for senior Tymbr Black, who led the Lady Bucks with 14 points. She hit two three-point shots on the night. Rianna Shumway also had a great game, scoring eight points.
Journey Baird, Megan Black, and Tristen Esplin each four points each with Esplin hitting a three. Brooklyn Holt contributed a foul shot.
It was a long week, but the Lady Buckaroos (5-10, 2-3) seem to have righted the ship as they head down the homestretch of the season on the way to state.
MHS hosted Monument Valley (8-2, 1-1) in a critical Region 19 game on Tuesday, January 29 in Monticello.
They’ll close out the season series with San Juan (7-7) Thursday, January 31 in a tough non-region rivalry matchup. Tune in to 103.9 KAAJ-LP for the live broadcast starting at 6:50 p.m.