In as good a high school basketball game as you would ever want to see, the Monticello Buckaroos and the San Juan Broncos renewed their annual basketball rivalry on December 19 in Blanding.
Before a full house, the two teams waged an epic battle, which saw the Broncos come out on top in double overtime 63-59, handing the Buckaroo team of Coach Rhett Maughan their first loss of the season.
Neither team lead by more than six, both teams had chances to win; the game had everything, steals, driving layups, dunk attempts, three pointers, frenetic defense, full court presses, fouls, foul outs, technical fouls, veteran players making veteran plays, young, inexperienced players getting the taste of the rivalry for the first time, good calls and bad calls by the refs, key plays by players off the bench, coaching strategies.
It was a marvel. Too bad someone had to lose.
The Broncos started fast, jumping out to a quick 7-2 lead. After Buckaroo big guy Dallin Duncan picked up his second foul, things momentarily looked bleak for the Bucks.
But the Bucks steadily closed the gap when senior sub Tyler Ketron entered the game for Duncan and flipped in seven quick points to even the score.
The Bucks led 17-16 by the end of the quarter. The Broncos regained the lead in the second quarter and went into half time with a tight 32-30 lead. Bronco guard Tyler Nielson led all scorers at halftime with 10 points.
Cameron Shumway added eight points for the Broncos with AJ Slavens and Keaton Perkins pitching in with six each.
In addition to Ketron's seven points, Duncan tossed in eight and Steven Redd six, mostly from the inside, while Devin Wright scored six on layups spurred by the Buckaroo defensive effort.
The Bucks came out strong in the third quarter, quickly regained the lead behind Duncan and Wright to grab a 44-40 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Broncos tied the score at 44 with 6:24 left when Slavens picked up his fourth and fifth fouls. The Bucks made two of four free throws to go up 46-44 but then went cold.
The Broncos defense stiffened and the Bucks managed just one free throw the rest of regulation. The Broncos tied the game at 47 and held the ball for the last shot, only to have Keaton Perkins’ open jumper from the top of the key bounce away. Overtime.
When Buckaroo starting point guard Kendall Maughan fouled out with just under 30 seconds left in regulation, Coach Rhett Maughan put senior Josh Anderson in his place. Anderson answered with the first three points of overtime for the Bucks to give the Bucks the early lead.
Again the Broncos stymied the Bucks, not allowing another field goal in overtime, while connecting on six of eight free throws themselves. The Bucks made only two of eight. But at the end of the overtime, the Bucks held the ball for the last shot. Taken by Devin Wright, it also missing, leaving the score still knotted at 53.
In the second overtime, after two more Buckaroos fouled out (Cory Young and Ketron) the Broncos went to the foul line to ice the game, making six of nine freebies to seal the 63-59 win.
The Broncos defense in the fourth quarter and the overtime periods was key, as they allowed the Bucks two field goals. Plus, their 70% freethrow percentage (24-35) figured in as well, compared to the Bucks 36% shooting (9-25).
"It's tough to lose," says Buckaroo coach Maughan, "but nice to compete. Two weeks ago we made 74% of our free throws in our win over Piute, 14-19."
Top scorers were the Bronco’s Shumway with 20, the Buck’s Duncan with 19, Perkins for SJ with 17, MHS Wright with 15, and Bronco Slavens (12) and Tyler Nielson (10). The win brings the Broncos record to 5-5 and the Bucks to 5-1.
Friday night saw the home town Buckaroos garner a big victory over 1A rival Duchesne. The Bucks used aggressive defense and outstanding inside play to capture an important 62-53 win in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicates.
The Bucks dominated the always fundamentally-sound Eagles. Steven Redd and Dallin Duncan owned the inside, pouring in 18 and 17 points respectively, with Devin Wright adding ten and Cory Young eight.
The Lady Broncos of coach Justin Moon ran their record to 3-5 with two victories over the week. The Broncos beat Whitehorse 57-49 and Monument Valley 76-56.
Kelsi Meyer tossed in 55 points for the two games, including a career-high 35 against the Cougars. Jessica Bergeman totaled 27 points in the two wins.
The Lady Buckaroos squeezed out a 43-42 victory over the Grand County Lady Red Devils, behind Abby Chadwick's 15 points including three treys and Janessa Bowring's eight points.
Tuesday finds the Broncos and Buckaroos matched up in Blanding.