Monticello boys get exciting comeback win at 1A Preview, girls suffer defeat in Blanding
by David Boyle
The Monticello High School boys basketball team went 1-2 in the past week including a thrilling double-overtime victory against Tintic high school at the 1A Preview at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield.
Monticello defeated the Miners on Saturday, December 10 62-57 after four quarters of play and two overtime periods.
The Buckaroos trailed 16-12 after one quarter and 26-17 at halftime. But in the second half they got to work, winning the third quarter to trail by just three points 37-34.
With 2:38 left in the game Landon Ewart gave the Bucks their first lead since the first quarter with an eight-foot jumper. The Miners regained the lead on two free throws but a Donovan Atwood 14-foot shot gave it back to Monticello 44-43.
With 13 seconds to go Ewart split a trip to the free-throw line to give Monticello a 45-43 lead. Then with just two seconds to go Tintic lead scorer Stockton Hansen scored at the rim to tie the game.
In the four-minute overtime period, Tintic’s Luke Larson scored the first points on a transition three to make the score 48-45.
On the next possession down the floor, Curtis Bunker scored on a shot from near the elbow to make the score 48-47. On the defensive end Ewart then blocked a shot by Hansen.
On the other end, Ewart found Donovan Atwood under the basket for a bucket and a foul, giving MHS a 49-48 lead. Atwood was unable to complete the three-point play but Ewart played good defense again on Hansen.
JD McDonald pulled down the rebound but was unable to convert points at the free-throw line. McDonald made up for it on the defensive end forcing a five-second back-to-the-basket turnover on Tintic.
Ewart split a pair of free throws to make the score 50-48 with four seconds to go. The Miners raced down the court and got a shot to go at the buzzer to tie the game 50-50 after one overtime period.
Monticello opened the second overtime with Ewart tipping the ball ahead to Bunker who was able to streak to the basket for a lay-up. Tintic hit a three-point shot the other way with Atwood responding with a two-point basket. Then the Miners made two free throws and, after a defensive stop, got a layup for a 57-54 lead with 2:40 remaining.
Despite those challenges, Ewart said postgame the team had a relaxed, calm attitude in the huddle.
“We started to get more confidence in ourselves in the second overtime. We got the offensive rebounds we needed and were able to put away the game,” he explained.
With two minutes to go in the game, Donovan Atwood calmly hit two free throws to pull Monticello within one point. Atwood said after the game practice gives him the confidence to knock down shots.
“You just have to set everything aside, take a couple of deep breaths, step up, and knock them down,” he stated.
After a defensive stop, Ewart went to the free-throw line and made both shots to give Monticello a 58-57 lead with about a minute remaining in the game.
On the other end, Bunker took a hard charge to give the Bucks another possession. Coach Josh Keyes called it one of the plays of the game afterwards.
On the offensive end after a missed shot Donovan Atwood pulled down an offensive rebound and put a shot back up and in to give the Buckaroos a 60-57 advantage.
Monticello didn’t give up another bucket in the game, and Bunker hit two free throws with less than three seconds remaining to close out an exciting 62-57 comeback win.
After the game Coach Keyes said despite first-half sluggishness the team pulled together in the second half and overtimes.
“The kids found some urgency, found some gusto, and it was a different team. I couldn’t be more proud that they pulled that one off,” said Keyes.
The Buckaroos were led in scoring by Donovan Atwood who finished the game with 21 points while Bunker scored 20.
Ewart added nine points while Tommy Sheeran scored five, and Mason Atwood scored three. JD McDonald scored two points. Traken Lee and Mikhael Sheen each had one point.
The Buckaroos out-rebounded the Miners 51-28. Ewart led the way with 13 rebounds while Donny Atwood, McDonald, and Sheeran had eight apiece. Bunker secured seven while Mason Atwood recorded six.
McDonald led the team with six steals, while Ewart recorded four assists and one block on the game.
In their other game at the tournament on Friday, December 9, Monticello fell to the Bryce Valley Mustangs 54-32.
Donny Atwood led Buckaroo scoring in the loss with eight points. Sheeran and Ewart each had five points while McDonald and Bunker recorded four.
Lee, Sheen, and Mason Atwood all recorded two points for Monticello in the loss. Ewart finished the game with eight boards and two assists while McDonald recorded three steals.
On Tuesday, December 6 Monticello fell to Montezuma-Cortez 66-31. The Buckaroos were led in scoring by Sheeran who finished the game with 13 points. Bunker had eight, Donny Atwood scored six, and Landon Ewart ended the game with four.
The Monticello girls basketball team played one game last week, a 69-31 loss to San Juan in Blanding.
Both the Monticello boys and girls played Dolores on December 13 after the San Juan Record print deadline.
Both squads will be in Dove Creek, CO this weekend for the annual Bulldog Classic Friday and Saturday, December 16-17. The boys play Telluride at 2 p.m. on Friday while the girls play Nucla at 3:30.
Saturday’s opponents and tip times will be decided by the results of Friday’s games. All four Monticello games will be broadcast on Redrock 92 with streaming video at pictureitpalmer.com.