Bucks suffer loss to Gunnison Valley but win two in homestand

The Monticello Buckaroo boys basketball team had a very busy week, playing four games in four days. Fortunately all of them were in the friendly confines of Monticello High School.

On Wednesday, January 27 the Bucks hosted the Gunnison Valley Bulldogs in a Region 16 match-up. Two weeks prior Monticello had traveled to Gunnison and left town with a 43-42 win.

Perhaps irritated by that loss, Gunnison came out firing and quickly built a 15-8 first-quarter lead. The lead swelled to 29-18 at the half as Monticello struggled to keep up.

The second half, just like the first, was all Gunnison. The Bulldogs cruised in the third and fourth quarters, besting the Bucks 12-9 and 15-8 to take home a 56-35 region win.

Cedar English scored 18 points in the loss with two three-point baskets. Boston Freestone scored eight points with one three. Cory Bunker also scored eight points. Devin Hatch closed out the Buck scoring with three points on one trey. The loss dropped Monticello to 3-4 in Region 16 play and 5-8 overall.

The very next night, on Thursday, January 28, Monticello hosted the Dove Creek Bulldogs in a cross-border matchup. Dove Creek had just been cleared to play by the state of Colorado due to COVID-19 so it figured to be an exciting but difficult opening night for the Bulldogs.

Monticello jumped out to an early 13-9 first-quarter lead but really blew the game open with a 23-7 second quarter that sent the home team into halftime with a 36-16 lead.

The Bucks surged ahead 51-26 after three quarters of play and ended the game with a 22-12 fourth quarter to secure a lopsided 73-38 win.

On the night, Monticello had perhaps their most balanced deep-scoring game of the season with ten Buckaroos finding the scoring column. Devin Hatch was the top scorer for the home team hitting for 15 with two three-pointers. Teammate Cedar English scored 13 points on one three. Cory Bunker had a season high when he scored 12 points and made a three-pointer.

Boston Freestone had a solid game, making two treys on his way to eight points. Joe Boyle reserved all his scoring for the long ball making two threes on his way to six points. Easton Young scored five points and made a three-pointer as well.

Reserves KC Benge, Bailey Walker, and Landon Ewart even got in on the action, scoring three, two, and two points respectively and Benge making a three-point shot in the win.

In their third game in as many nights, the Bucks hosted a well-known 1A foe when the Tabiona Tigers visited Monticello on Friday, January 29 for the annual game between the two teams that alternates between Monticello and Tabiona each season.

For the second night in a row, the Bucks enjoyed a solid offensive and defensive game that overwhelmed the visiting Tigers. Monticello jumped out to a 19-13 first-quarter lead and stretched it to 40-24 when the halftime horn sounded.

The second half was another good one for Monticello as the Buck lead grew to 51-30 after three quarters of play. Although both teams scored nine points apiece in the fourth quarter, Monticello easily coasted to the 60-39 win.

Monticello again enjoyed very balanced scoring. Cory Bunker led the way with another personal season high of 17 points, which included a three-point bucket.

Boston Freestone wasn’t far behind, draining four threes on his way to 16 points. Cedar English was the third Buckaroo in double figures, adding 11 points to the effort.

Devin Hatch scored eight points, Grant Nebeker added six, and Joe Boyle closed out the scoring with three points on a three-pointer in the blowout. With the win, the Bucks improved to 7-8 overall on the season.

This past Saturday, the UHSAA released the latest RPI ranking for all Utah classes. Monticello is ranked 11th out of 22 teams in 2A as the state tournament looms in the next three weeks.

In what will be a more normal week, Monticello hits the road for a couple Region 16 games this week. They took on the Altamont Longhorns on Tuesday, February 2.

Friday, February 5 they head to Salina to face the North Sevier Wolves. These games are very important as Monticello tries to keep pace in Region 16.

Girls basketball
In a season where the Lady Buckaroos have faced all sorts of adversity, ranging from cold shooting to injuries, the team admirably continues to scrap, fight, and play hard every night.

On Tuesday, January 26 in a home game against the Gunnison Valley Lady Bulldogs, Monticello played no differently as they battled to compete with the visiting team.

After the opening tip, Monticello got off to a solid start, claiming a 12-11 lead after the first quarter of play. However, cold shooting in the second quarter caused the Lady Bucks to struggle. The girls relinquished their lead to trail Gunnison 21-18 at the halftime break.

Another poor offensive third quarter caused Monticello to fall further behind 33-25 going into the final quarter of play.

The Lady Bucks were able to finally put up some points in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 points, but the team just couldn’t chip into the Lady Bulldog lead dropping the region game 50-40.

Monticello was led by Kylie Rogers who had a monster game, pouring in 19 points. Ali Barry also had a nice game, chipping in six points. Madison Keyes, Olivia Chamberlain, and Rosy Beh all scored four points apiece in the game.

Saydee Adams and Kenlee Atwood closed out the scoring, contributing two and one point respectively to the total.

Two nights later on Thursday, January 28 the Lady Bucks hopped a bus to Green River to play the 7-5 1A Lady Pirates in a non-region matchup.

Green River won the game between the two teams in December but Monticello was hoping to turn the tables on their old Region 19 rivals.

Monticello hung tough in the first quarter and trailed by only four headed into the second quarter, 12-8. However, the game got away from the Lady Bucks in the second as Green River used a 23-4 quarter to build a formidable 35-12 halftime lead.

Green River more than doubled up the Lady Bucks in the third quarter 18-6 to extend their already commanding lead to 53-18 going into the fourth quarter. That quarter saw the Lady Bucks play the home team fairly even, but the deficit was just too large to overcome as the game ended with Green River up 64-27.

For the second game in a row, Kylie Rogers led the team in scoring with 12 points. Kenlee Atwood had her best game of the season, scoring six points. Saydee Adams added three to the scoring total with Madison Keyes, Olivia Chamberlain, and Rosy Beh scoring two points apiece.

The next night, on Friday, January 29, the Lady Bucks hosted the 1A Tabiona Lady Tigers in a non-region match-up in the MHS gym.

Monticello got off to a rough start, only able to score one bucket in the first quarter and falling behind Tabiona 11-2. In the second quarter, the Lady Tigers hit their stride, pouring in 21 points to take a 32-10 lead into halftime.

Monticello had their best scoring quarter of the game with 12 points in the third quarter, but Tabiona scored 22 to extend their lead to 54-22 after three periods of play.

The final period was also all Tabiona as the Lady Tigers doubled up the Lady Bucks 14-7 to finalize a 68-29 win. No individual stats were available for this game at the time of printing.

As tournament time draws near, the UHSAA has been updating the RPI for seeding purposes. As of last Friday, the Monticello girls had an RPI ranking of 20th out of 23 2A girls basketball teams.

The Lady Bucks were back on road Tuesday, February 2 in Altamont. They’ll play non-region Merit Academy on Thursday, February 4 in Springville, and they close out the week Saturday, February 6 hosting North Summit.

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