Monticello High School basketball teams close regular seasons and head into state playoffs

With the 2020-2021 regular season drawing to a close, the 1-17 Monticello girls basketball team hosted undefeated Dove Creek in an intrastate game on Wednesday, February 10.

In January the Lady Bulldogs beat the Lady Bucks 55-43. Since that meeting Monticello has struggled with key injuries and has been forced to play a lot of young players.

On Wednesday MHS tried to keep up with Dove Creek early in the game but quickly fell behind 21-8 in the first quarter of play. They dropped the second quarter by 13 points to fall behind the Lady Bulldogs 38-12 at the half.

The Lady Buckaroos had a better offensive quarter in the third but their nine points didn’t gain any ground and they fell further behind the visitors 55-21 after three quarters of play.

The final quarter was Monticello’s best offensive quarter of the game by far. They exploded for 17 points in the period, but once again Dove Creek was better and claimed a 78-38 win.

It was the Lady Bucks’ last home game of the season, so the team and coaches gave tribute and said goodbye to three seniors – Saydee Adams, Olivia Chamberlain, and Kennedy Brewer. The girls have made strong contributions to MHS basketball for years and they will be missed.

That said, it was quite appropriate that the three seniors led the team in scoring on Senior Night. Adams was the top scorer, hitting for 19 points. Chamberlain had a great game with seven points. And Brewer followed with four, including the only Monticello three-pointer of the night.

Behind the three seniors, Amy Lewis scored three points, Ciara McCarthy got two, and Kylie Rogers and Rosy Beh scored one point each.

With the loss, the Lady Buckaroos finished the regular season ranked #19 in the 2A RPI standings with a 1-18 overall record and an 0-10 in Region 16 play.

They head to Ogden this Wednesday, February 17 to take on Saint Joseph in the first round of the 2A girls state tournament. The #14 Lady Jayhawks are 6-9 on the year with a 4-5 record in Region 17.

The two teams played no common opponents this season so it should be an interesting matchup with no clear favorite. If the Lady Bucks win, they’ll play #3 Beaver Friday, February 19 in Beaver.

Boys basketball
After spending the previous week entirely on the road, the Monticello boys basketball team enjoyed two homes games this past week against the Dove Creek Bulldogs Monday, February 8 and the North Summit Braves Friday, February 12.

For the second time in two weeks, Monticello faced their neighbor from just across the state line. In late January, Monticello thumped Dove Creek 73-38 in the Bulldogs’ first game of their COVID-19-delayed season.

On a rare Monday night game, the Buckaroos tipped off against the Bulldogs and eked out a narrow 7-4 first quarter lead. But following the sluggish start, Monticello exploded for 22 points in the second quarter to jump to a sizable 29-11 halftime lead.

The third quarter was also all Monticello as the Bucks’ lead swelled to 45-16. In a game that would see 11 Buckaroos score, Monticello went deep into their bench in the fourth quarter. Though they dropped the quarter 16-15, they still won easily 60-32.

Despite the runaway win, the Bucks struggled to make shots from everywhere but beyond the three-point line. The team shot an icy 36 percent from the floor but canned eight of 26 shots from three-point range for a decent 31 percent clip.

Devin Hatch led the team with 16 points and Cory Bunker scored 13 in the win. Hatch made two three-point shots and Bunker one. Cedar English and Bailey Walker scored six points each with Walker’s points coming from two threes.

Easton Young scored five points and hit one three-pointer. KC Benge and Joe Boyle each scored three points on a bucket from distance each. Boston Freestone, Landon Ewart, Grant Nebeker, and Donny Atwood each scored two points in the win.

Cold shooting was the theme of the night as the Monticello defense held the Bulldogs to 27 percent overall shooting and a 22 percent shooting percentage from beyond the arc.

The Bucks converted 16 Dove Creek miscues into 20 points. Monticello also had four blocks in the game with two coming from Easton Young on the guard line and two from Cory Bunker.

On Friday, the Bucks welcomed the North Summit Braves to the MHS gym looking to move up in the Region 16 standings. It was Senior Night for Monticello and the final game of the regular season for both teams.

North Summit drilled Monticello in the teams’ first meeting 79-53 in Coalville on January 8, so Monticello was hoping for a better outcome at home.

The first quarter was a good one with both teams converting well on offense. When the period ended North Summit owned a 20-16 lead.

In the second quarter, North Summit matched their first-period output and unfortunately the Bucks were unable to keep up. As a result, the Braves owned a 40-30 halftime lead.

The third quarter was much of the same – all North Summit – as the Braves extended their lead to 57-42 headed into the final period of play.

Monticello got their best offense of the night in the fourth quarter, but so did North Summit, and the Braves ended the night with a 78-59 road win.

On Senior Night, Monticello said goodbye to four seniors – Joe Boyle, Cory Bunker, Cedar English, and Grant Nebeker. They all had great careers as Buckaroos and will be missed.

In his final home game as a Buckaroo, Cedar English scored 22 points and made a couple three-point baskets. Devin Hatch also had a nice game with 15 points and a three. Boston Freestone was the third Buck in double figures with 13 points.

Joe Boyle and Cory Bunker also scored in their final Monticello home game. Boyle got six points with one bucket from distance and Bunker hit a trey for three points on the night.

The Buckaroos finished the regular season ranked #10 in the 2A RPI standings with a 9-10 overall record. They were 4-6 in Region 16 to earn a fourth-place tie with Altamont.

MHS earned a first-round bye in the 2A boys state tournament, but they’ll have to hit the road this Friday, February 19 to face the Region 16 champion Duchesne Eagles in the second round.

Monticello and Duchesne played twice this season with the Eagles topping Monticello 52-38 in Duchesne January 9 and edging the Bucks 41-38 in Monticello January 22.

It’s tough to beat a team three times in one season, so hopefully Monticello can get the best of Duchesne on Friday. The winner will head to Richfield for the state quarterfinals next Monday, February 22 and will likely face #2 Layton Christian.

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