Buckaroos topple Red Devils and split a pair of Region 16 games

For the second year in a row, the Monticello High School boys basketball team did what they hadn’t been able to do for years – win back-to-back home games against the Grand County Red Devils.

On Tuesday, January 19 the Buckaroos not only did that, besting the visitors by the score of 63-58, but they also handed the visitors their first loss of the season, dropping the Red Devils to 12-1 on the season.

But before you think it was a cakewalk for Monticello, you need to know the full story. Things looked bleak for the home team after they gave up 21 first-quarter points and fell behind 21-13 to a team that beat them by 19 points last month.

In a show of great resiliency, MHS scored 22 themselves in the second quarter to battle back to within 38-35 at the half.

The third quarter was another good quarter for the home team as Monticello cut the Grand lead to one going into the final period of play, 49-48.

For the second year in a row, the 3A Red Devils seemed shocked to be in a dogfight with what they likely deemed an inferior opponent and tightened up.

This allowed the Bucks to pound Grand in the final period and seize the 63-58 upset. Monticello salted the game away from the line, hitting 15 of 19 free throw attempts.

Monticello was led to the win by Devin Hatch who scored 22 points with two three-point buckets and four rebounds.

Teammate Cedar English hit for 20 points, canning one three and coming away with eight rebounds, three assists, and three steals.

The rest of the Bucks’ scoring was more evenly dispersed. Cory Bunker scored seven points; Boston Freestone got six with one three-pointer.

The pair also pulled down three rebounds each with Bunker adding three assists and two steals. Freestone ended the game with two assists and four steals.

Easton Young and Joe Boyle scored a three-pointer apiece. Young also had a rebound and a steal, and Boyle came away with three rebounds and two steals. Grant Nebeker had a bucket in the win and contributed three rebounds and two assists.

It was a great victory for a team that started the season very slowly, but there was little time to savor it with the Duchesne Eagles coming to town on Friday, January 22 and the Altamont Longhorns visiting the following night for key Region 16 games.

Earlier in the month, Monticello (5-7, 2-2) traveled to Duchesne (6-6, 3-1) and limped out of town after a 52-38 loss. The Buckaroos hoped their recently-improved play would translate into a big region win.

Both teams started slowly but Monticello played well enough to build a 9-6 first quarter lead. The second quarter was much of the same with both teams scoring eight points and the Bucks held a slim 17-14 halftime lead.

MHS seemed well on the way to victory when they put together their best offensive quarter of the game in the third. They hit for 15 points which lead to a comfortable 32-23 lead going into the final period of play.

Unfortunately, their best quarter was followed by their worst. The Bucks only managed six points in the fourth quarter but still had a chance to win the game with the score knotted at 38-38 late.

However, Duchesne got the final possession of the game and made it pay with a three-point shot that found the bottom of the net as the buzzer dashed Monticello’s hopes of splitting their season series with the Eagles.

Last season, Monticello led Duchesne in Duchesne by 10 early in the fourth quarter only to have the Eagles bury a three at the buzzer to send that game into overtime – a game the Bucks would also ultimately lose. Sometimes you can get snake bitten twice.

Cedar English was the lone Buckaroo in double figures, scoring 16 points which included two three-point baskets.

Grant Nebeker and Boston Freestone scored eight points apiece with Freestone draining two threes. Cory Bunker and Devin Hatch rounded out the scoring with four and two points respectively.

That’s basketball for you. You can be on top of the world on Tuesday and feel gutted three nights later when a poor quarter of basketball jumps up and bites you.

Coach Keyes was hopeful that his squad would have a short memory when they got back to it on Saturday, January 23 with the Altamont Longhorns coming to Monticello for the teams’ first meeting of the year.

Both teams got off to a sluggish start, only managing 10 total points by the time the first quarter ended with a 5-5 tie. Monticello jumped ahead by three in the second to take a 15-12 halftime lead.

The Buckaroos seized control of the game in the third quarter when they doubled up the Longhorns for a comfortable 33-21 lead headed into the final quarter.

Altamont made a run in the fourth, dropping in 24 points, but Monticello did just enough to keep them at bay and hung on for the 53-45 win.

The Bucks were paced by Cedar English and Devin Hatch who scored 25 points and 15 points respectively and hit one three-pointer each.

Easton Young had a good game, scoring seven points with one trey. Cory Bunker added six points in the win.

The Bucks moved into third place in the Region 16 standings with a 3-3 region record and a 6-7 overall record. They’re tenth in the RPI standings headed into this week.

MHS hosts the Gunnison Valley Bulldogs (6-7, 1-3) on Wednesday, January 27; the Dove Creek Bulldogs on Thursday, January 28; and the 1A Tabiona Tigers (5-8) on Friday, January 29. You can catch the Dove Creek game live on Redrock 92 and PictureItPalmer.com.

Girls basketball
The Lady Buckaroos knew they were facing a stiff test with the Duchesne Lady Eagles (8-4, 3-0) coming to town for a Region 16 tilt on Thursday, January 21.

That belief bore out in reality when Duchesne raced to an early 16-2 first quarter lead. It was a tough quarter for the team in more ways than one when one of their leaders, Avery Shumway, exited the game with a season-ending knee injury.

Coming into the game, the Lady Bucks were already shorthanded with starter Kennedy Brewer out with a concussion. Losing Shumway just made the Monticello bench that much thinner.

The Lady Bucks bounced back somewhat in the second quarter but still found themselves down 30-9 at the half.

The worst was still to come, though, as the Lady Eagles buried Monticello with a 32-3 quarter to swell their lead to 62-11 going into the final period of play. Monticello played hard but ultimately succumbed 71-17.

Saydee Adams led the team with six points, four rebounds, two steals, and a block. Ali Barry scored five points and contributed a rebound and an assist.

Kylee Rogers scored four points and added four rebounds, a steal, and a block. Avery Shumway scored two points in her brief appearance. The loss dropped Monticello to 1-9 overall and 0-5 in region play.

In a rare Saturday home game, Monticello was forced to regroup quickly to welcome the Altamont Lady Longhorns (4-5, 0-2) to town for another Region 16 matchup.

Missing two starters, Monticello played as hard as they could. But the Lady Longhorns showed early on that they were the better team, jumping out to a commanding 18-4 first-quarter lead.

They swelled that lead to 43-10 at the half and dominated the second half with a 16-6 third quarter and a 10-4 fourth quarter on the way to a 69-20 region win over the Lady Bucks.

Kylie Rogers and Saydee Adams were the top Monticello scorers with six points apiece. Rogers added four rebounds, a steal, and a block. Adams contributed four rebounds, two steals, and a block.

Olivia Chamberlain scored four points with three rebounds. Amy Lewis and Kenlee Atwood both hit a bucket. Lewis pulled down three rebounds, dished three assists, and came away with two steals. Atwood had three rebounds and two steals.

One bright spot in the game for Monticello came on the defensive boards as the Lady Bucks out-rebounded the visiting team 20-18.

Monticello (1-10, 0-6) was back at it on Tuesday, January 26 with the Gunnison Valley Lady Bulldogs (5-7, 1-3) in town for another region tilt.

On Thursday, January 28 the girls will hop a bus to Green River to play the 1A Lady Pirates (7-5) in a non-region matchup that will be a region game again next season.

MHS will conclude a busy week with the 1A Tabiona Lady Tigers (10-7) in Monticello on Saturday afternoon.

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