Monticello boys basketball earn play-in win over Dugway

by David Boyle
News Director
The Monticello Buckaroos earned a victory over the Dugway Mustangs in the first round of the 1A boys state basketball tournament on February 24.
The #14 seeded Buckaroos defeated the #19 seed Mustangs by a score of 65-39.
Monticello built a 23-5 first quarter lead turning that into a 39-13 halftime lead.
The Buckaroos ended the third quarter with a buzzer-beating layup by JD McDonald to make the score 55-22 with the final score favoring Monticello 65-39.
The Buckaroos were led in scoring by Kaden Pehrson who finished with 12 points, The Senior trio of Curtis Bunker (11), JD McDonald (9), and Mason Atwood (8) all finished their final game on their home court with a victory.
Also scoring for the Buckaroos was Kooper Nielson (7), Jackson Keyes (6), Seth Taylor (3), Tommy Morrison (3), Jaden Camacho (2), and Cache Young (2).
Speaking postgame Coach Josh Keyes had fond memories of the three seniors. The class was the first group that Keyes coached all four-years of high school since taking over for coach Tony Esplin.
Speaking about Curtis Bunker Keyes said, “He’s never had an A-minus in his life. Everything you ask of him, He’s the kid that if you have a daughter, he’s the kid you want to take to the dance.”
Keyes also spoke highly of Mason Atwood’s intensity
“He plays with that emotion its very rewarding. You never have to worry about him coming to work and working hard for you. Sometimes you have to reign it in, he’s always been undersized, but he’s always played so hard. Just look at the statistics, a kid that’s averaging a double-double a night at 5’8 in the post.”
Keyes also praised JD McDonald’s reliability
“JD’s been a 3-year starter for us, he’s been very specialized as a defensive player but he’s always given us effort and he’s been in big games that we’ve won.” 
Also sharing fond memories of the seniors was junior Kaden Pehrson. 
“It’s been fun, they’re the life of the party, they keep us going. They’re definitely the motor of the team but I’m looking forward to next year too.”
Speaking postgame Curtis Bunker thanked the coaches 
“They’re amazing, the amount of time they put in is unbelievable. Coach Young works all day and comes to practice, same with Coach Doug, and Coach Keyes has to deal with kids all day at the school and he still comes.”
Mason Atwood shared he’ll miss playing at Monticello High School.
“It’s been fun being able to play in front of all the fans every night, it’s just been fun, having all the support from the community”
The Buckaroos are the #14 seed in the 1A state tournament and will take on #3 seed Panguitch at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield, Wednesday at 7:00 pm. If the Buckaroos pull an upset they’ll play Thursday at 1:00 pm, while a loss will put them in the consolation bracket playing at 8:30 pm on Thursday.
Red Rock 92.7 will be broadcasting all five San Juan County teams participating in the boys and girls 1A state tournament all this week, check social media for the schedule.

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