by Walter & Becky Bird
Entering the second week of 2020 with a record of 4-5, the Monticello boys commenced Region 16 play on the road against the North Sevier Wolves (6-5) in Salina Wednesday, January 8.
The Bucks gave up eight unanswered points to begin the game. They recovered slightly but faltered again, falling behind the Wolves 20-12 at the end of the first quarter.
Monticello was much better in the second quarter on both sides of the court. They outscored North Sevier 14-7 and trailed by just one, 27-26 at the half.
The third quarter was another good one for the Bucks. They started to take control of the contest, building a 37-34 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
But in the final quarter, turnovers and some questionable calls cost the Bucks as North Sevier was able to tie the game 47-47 at the end of regulation.
MHS struggled to find points in the overtime period, but the Wolves, aided by an early double bonus, capitalized from the foul line to squeak out a 56-52 win.
The Bucks enjoyed fairly balanced scoring, but shot the ball poorly, hitting just 41 percent of their shots from the floor. They were just 12.5 percent from three-point range.
Dylan Bird led the way for Monticello and set a new career high with 21 points – including one three-point basket. He added four rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
Devin Hatch had a solid game, scoring nine points while adding seven rebounds, a steal, and a block. Boston Freestone’s stat line included eight points with one three-pointer, four rebounds, three assists, and a steal.
Cedar English scored seven points and added eight rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block. Hyrum Johnson scored five points with two rebounds, an assist, and a steal.
The stat that jumps out from the game was Monticello’s 20 turnovers that led to 13 North Sevier points. A few less turnovers and Monticello would have likely won the game.
With one day of rest after a late-night arrival at home Wednesday night, the Bucks hosted the Gunnison Bulldogs (7-5, 1-0) on Friday, January 10 in Monticello. The Bulldogs had beaten Duchesne 57-53 at home on Tuesday night.
Again, the Bucks suffered a slow start, falling behind quickly in the game 13-3. But they went on a 13-4 run to close out the first quarter within one point, 17-16. The second period was a wash as the Bulldogs maintained a 30-29 lead at the half.
For the second game in a row, the Bucks moved ahead in the third quarter, eventually taking a lead of 50-49 heading into the final period of play. However, Monticello was once again doomed by inconsistent play in the fourth quarter. They struggled to score down the stretch and suffered a 65-60 loss.
The Bucks shot the ball better than the Wednesday night contest, hitting 45 percent of their total shots and a terrific 58 percent from three-point range (11 of 19).
Interestingly, Monticello outscored Gunnison in points per possession .96 to .95, but obviously Monticello had fewer possessions.
Monticello did enjoy three players scoring in double figures with Cedar English scoring 20 points, Dylan Bird 14, and Aaron Christiansen 11. English added three rebounds, two steals, and a block. Bird got five rebounds, six assists, and two steals.
Bird made four of his five three-point shots, Christiansen hit a perfect three of three, and English hit two of three from behind the arc. Devin Hatch scored five points, with a three-point basket, five rebounds, and a steal.
Boston Freestone scored four points and had four steals in the game. Hyrum Johnson and Cory Bunker each scored three points in the game with Johnson hitting a three-point basket and adding five assists. Bunker had two assists in the game.
Two stats jump out from the game. The Bucks were outscored 42-20 in the paint and shot 15 less foul shots than the Bulldogs, which usually doesn’t happen at home.
The loss drops Monticello to 4-7 overall and 0-2 in Region 16 – a tie with North Summit for last in the region. As of January 11 the Bucks are rated 13th overall in the 2A RPI.
This week, the Bucks hosted the 3A Grand County Red Devils on Tuesday, January 13. They resume region play with road games in the Basin against Duchesne on Friday, January 17 and the Altamont Longhorns on Saturday, January 18.
The Monticello girls logged three games in what was a busy week. They boarded a bus Tuesday, January 7 for a three-hour drive to Salina for their first Region 16 game of the season against the North Sevier Lady Wolves.
Monticello started the game slowly, but only trailed North Sevier 13-8 after the first period of play. But the Lady Bucks’ shooting went ice cold from that point on. They scored just 12 points for the remainder of the game to drop the contest 56-20.
The girls hit just 16 percent of their shots in the game and went 0-5 from three-point range. Megan Black was the top scorer with six points; she added five rebounds, two steals, and a block.
Brooklyn Holt scored four points with three rebounds and a steal. Rianna Shumway scored three points; Kennedy Brewer, Saydee Adams, and Maddy Freestone got two apiece; and Adri Lewis scored one.
With little time to pout, the Lady Bucks came back home to host the Gunnison Lady Bulldogs in another Region 16 tilt on Thursday, January 9.
Once again, the girls fell behind to start the game and trailed Gunnison 12-7 after the first quarter. But they bounced back to win the second quarter 10-6 and were behind just 18-17 at the half.
The Lady Bucks fought hard in the second half, but still trailed the Lady Bulldogs 37-29 after three periods of play. Monticello eventually succumbed to the visiting team 53-37 after another low-scoring quarter.
Offensively, Monticello improved slightly, shooting 29 percent from the floor and 20 percent from beyond the three-point arc. The Lady Bucks actually hit just two less field goals than Gunnison, but the Lady Bulldogs’ three-point shooting was the difference.
Two MHS players scored double figures in the contest – Holt with 13 points and Freestone with 12. Holt also had nine rebounds and a block. Freestone added three rebounds and an assist to go with the team’s only three-point basket.
Lewis scored four points for the Lady Bucks with three rebounds and three assists. Rianna Shumway only scored three points but pulled down 10 rebounds from her guard spot to go with three assists.
Adams and Ciara McCarthy scored two points apiece, and Kennedy Brewer made a foul shot in the game. The most telling stat of the game was 30 Monticello turnovers that led to 22 Gunnison points.
Again, Monticello had little time to rest or dwell on the loss. The girls headed to Dove Creek on Friday in an attempt to even their season series at a game apiece (the Lady Bucks lost to the Lady Bulldogs in Monticello in December).
Monticello started the game cold, falling behind Dove Creek 14-5 after one quarter of play. The game was fairly even from that point on though.
The Lady Buckaroos lost the second quarter by three points to trail 30-18 at the half. The second half was a 25-25 tie, and the home team took MHS down 55-43.
Monticello shot 29 percent in the game, but once again put up a goose egg beyond the arc. Eight Lady Bucks got in the scoring column though. The Shumway sisters accounted for over half of Monticello’s offense with Rianna scoring 14 points and Avery scoring eight.
Rianna also had a great overall game with eight rebounds, five steals, and an assist. Freestone and Black scored six points apiece. Freestone added five rebounds, two steals, and an assist.
Black tallied eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. Kylie Rogers scored three points for MHS with Holt, Kennedy Brewer, and Adams all scoring two apiece. Holt also had eight rebounds and seven steals in the game.
With the loss, Monticello dropped to 2-10 overall. As of January 11, the Lady Bucks are 21st in the UHSAA 2A RPI. This week, the girls traveled to Montezuma Creek to take on Whitehorse Wednesday, January 14.
They’ll team up with the boys in Region 16 doubleheaders this Friday and Saturday, January 17-18 against Duchesne and Altamont. Join Rhett Sifford for all four of those games live on 103.9 KAAJ-LP.