Lady Bucks start basketball season with win

On Tuesday, November 26 the Monticello High School girls basketball team hosted the Grand County Lady Red Devils in a pre-season, inter-county tilt.

In front of a large early season crowd, the Lady Bucks jumped out to a quick lead, doubling up Grand 12-6 in the first quarter. The girls held the momentum and increased their lead to 27-12 by halftime.

In the third quarter, Monticello kept things rolling, eventually leading 41-16. Grand went on a mini-run in the fourth quarter to cut into the Lady Bucks’ lead, but when the final horn sounded Monticello had earned their first win of the season 54-26.

It was a good first game for MHS stat-wise. They shot 34 percent from the field, scoring on 22 of 64 attempts. The three-point line wasn’t as kind with Monticello missing all six attempts. The Lady Buckaroos hit 10 of 21 attempts from the charity stripe for 48 percent.

Senior Brooklyn Holt led the team with 14 points, to which she added nine rebounds, two assists, and a steal. Senior Megan Black almost hit double figures, scoring nine points, but she also added eight rebounds, three assists, four steals and two blocks.

Senior Rianna Shumway contributed eight points, four rebounds, six assists and three steals. Seniors Adri Lewis and Maddy Shumway scored six and five points in the win. Maddy added four assists and a steal.

Simply put, Grand struggled to put up points. The Lady Red Devils shot just 21 percent from the field, they went 0 for 1 from three-point range, and an anemic 0 of 15 from the foul line. Grand has a chance to redeem themselves when they host Monticello on December 11.  

Monticello Girls Basketball Preview

Bird Scoop asked Monticello Head Coach Kraig Black the following questions about the upcoming season:

Q: What will the style of play be for this team?

A: Defense and rebounding are always top priority. This group likes to play defense and they aren’t afraid to get on the floor for loose balls. 

The captains also have emphasized, as part of the culture of this team, that they want to be in good shape and fast break. They like to have fun and fun to them is giving their best effort and being a huge support to each other on and off the court.

Q: Is depth a concern this year?

A: We have a lot of depth in the post. It is good in that the competition will drive these girls to get better. 

We don’t have as much depth at guard but still have several girls who can handle that position. 

We will give up some height in that position most games but what they lack in height they make up for in heart.

Q: Who do you expect to be the key contributors on the team?

A: We have many girls who will contribute this year and in different ways. I feel our entire team are key contributors as they push each other every day to get better. We have to have strong play from our guards, Rianna Shumway and Maddy Freestone. They will be key contributors.

Brooklyn Holt and Megan Black have a lot of experience and will be key on both ends of the court as they anchor the post. We have a number of others vying for positions and I’ve already seen some good things from each of them and am excited to see who makes some big strides as they are all working hard.

Q: What are the strengths of this team?

A: First is their positivity and second is their willingness to work hard individually and as a team. This is a fun group and they do the right things to make the sport fun.

Q: What are the teams in 2A to watch and where does Monticello fit in that mix?

A: North Summit is experienced and will be tough. Wasatch Academy will be right there as well. Millard, North Sevier, and Beaver are also expected to be in the mix. It’s hard for me to say until we get in the mix.

We have only played a couple of these schools in the last few years. I feel we can compete and be a respectable team if the girls will continue to focus on the team culture and know it and do it!

The Deseret News published the following capsule on the 2019 girls team:

Head coach: Kraig Black (fourth year)

2018-2019 record: 9-15 (fourth in 1A Region 19 with a 5-5 record)

2019 postseason: Lost to Wendover, 43-30, in the 1A first round

Returning starters: Two

Returning contributors: Megan Black, Senior Forward – 3.8 PPG; Brooklyn Holt, Senior Forward – 6.0 PPG

Monticello (1-0) is back in action on Friday, December 6 when they host the Tabiona Lady Tigers (1-1). The varsity game tips off at 7 p.m.

Boys Basketball 

The Buckaroo boys basketball team looks to be young and inexperienced headed into the 2019-20 season with just a handful of players that have any varsity experience. Only senior Dylan Bird saw considerable playing time on a senior-heavy team last season.

The varsity team will likely consist of four seniors: Dylan Bird, Hyrum Johnson, Carson King, and Aaron Christiansen, five juniors: Cory Bunker, Joe Boyle, Cedar English, Alan Pettit, and Grant Nebeker, and three sophomores: Boston Freestone, Bailey Walker, and Devin Hatch. 

Assistant coach Josh Keyes stated that the coaching staff is still trying to figure out what the team’s strengths are so they can tailor the offense and defense around them.

One thing’s for sure, it will be a new experience for the Buckaroos when they face many 2A teams they have not played in years. In recent seasons, Monticello has played fellow Region 16 teams Duchesne and Altamont in home and away series but have not faced North Sevier, North Summit, or Gunnison Valley for some time.  

The Deseret News recently picked the Bucks to finish fifth in Region 16, ahead of only Altamont. We’re not sure how these rankings are compiled and you can take them for what they’re worth.

Hopefully, MHS can exceed the Salt Lake City media’s expectations and put together a great season with a nice playoff run. Here’s the preseason capsule the Des News published for the boys team:

Head Coach: Tony Esplin (ninth straight year)

2018-2019 Record: 16-9 (first in 1A Region 19 with a 9-1 record)

2019 Postseason: Lost to Valley, 53-42, in the 1A quarterfinals

Returning Contributors: Dylan Bird, Senior Guard – 2.3 PPG; Cedar English, Junior Guard – 1.1 PPG; Cory Bunker, Junior Forward, Jr – 0.9 PPG

The boys started the season on the road December 3 against the Grand County Red Devils (1-1).

San Juan Record

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