by Walter & Becky Bird
On Tuesday, Dec. 18, after an undefeated weekend in Dove Creek, the Monticello boys (3-2) traveled north to Moab to play the Grand County Red Devils (5-0). Grand is the fourth-ranked team in 3A.
The game started slowly for both teams. They each struggled to find the offensive flow and, quite frankly, the bottom of the hoop.
It went back and forth with Grand holding an 8-7 edge after the first period. It looked as if the teams were in for another game like they had in early December, when Grand edged the Bucks 64-62 in Monticello.
However, the second period found Monticello’s offensive woes continuing and Grand’s offense clicking. The result was a 22-12 advantage for the Red Devils going into halftime.
The third quarter wasn’t any kinder to the Bucks. They saw their 10-point halftime deficit grow to 24 and Monticello trailed 41-17 going into the final period. Monticello clawed back a little in the final period but ended up losing the game 50-38.
Offensively, both teams struggled to shoot, with Monticello hitting a slightly better percentage than Moab at 39.4 percent to 39.1 percent.
Simply put, the Red Devils won the game forcing and converting on Monticello turnovers and easy baskets in the paint – to the tune of 24 points off of Buck miscues and 24 in the paint.
Lucas Hatch led the Bucks with 11 points, including three made three-point shots. Adam Bunker had 10 points with one three-point shot made.
Spencer Knudsen, Weston Nebeker, and Britton Brewer each ended the game with four points. Dylan Bird scored three points on one three-point shot, and Taylor Torgerson put in one two-point basket.
Two nights later, the Bucks (3-3) hosted the San Juan Broncos (3-2) in Monticello. As usual, it was a wild game with lots of action and some fine shooting from both teams.
For the game Monticello shot 57.4 percent from the field – including 42.9 percent from three-point range. San Juan made 56.5 percent of their overall shots and an impressive 65 percent from beyond the arc.
The first quarter was a high-scoring affair with San Juan taking a 29-19 lead built mainly on Monticello turnovers caused by the Bronco full-court press. San Juan expanded their lead to 17 at the half, 51-34, and 75-52 after three periods. Monticello kept the final period close, but dropped the game in the end 90-66.
Lucas Hatch was the top Buck scorer, putting in 20 points with two three-pointers. Spencer Knudsen had a nice game, scoring 14 points with two treys.
Weston Nebeker scored 10 points and Adam Bunker added nine points with one three. Britton Brewer came off the bench to score six points. Parker Walker scored a three-point basket. Taylor Torgerson and Dylan Bird added two points apiece for the Buckaroos.
Despite hot shooting, turnovers plagued the Bucks with 23 unforced errors that resulted in 34 San Juan points.
Defensively, the Bucks struggled to stop the Broncos from outside the arc where San Juan hit 13 of 20 three-point attempts. San Juan was strong inside also, where they scored nearly half of their total points for the game. The Broncos also turned 15 offensive rebounds into 21 second chance points.
After a couple weeks off for the holidays, the Bucks (3-4) will be back in action for a weekend set of games when they host Tabiona (4-2) and Altamont (0-7) on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 4 and 5.
The same night the boys were in Moab, on Tuesday Dec. 18, the Lady Bucks were in Blanding to face the Lady Broncos in a non-region tilt. Coming into the game, Monticello sat at 2-5 and the Lady Broncos at 3-4.
Monticello hoped to bounce back after a tough loss to Bayfield the previous week where they led most of the game, only to see it slip away at the end.
Against San Juan, the Monticello girls got down big early and never could recover. In fact, the girls trailed San Juan 26-6 after the first period of play and 51-19 at the half.
The second half went much like the first with San Juan hammering away to take the third quarter 19-12 and the fourth quarter 15-10. It all resulted in an 85-41 final in San Juan’s favor.
The story of the game was turnovers. Monticello would end the game with 27 giveaways, which led to 30 Lady Bronco points – 22 of those coming on fast breaks. The Lady Bucks also struggled to stop San Juan down low as the Broncos scored 50 points in the paint with 26 of those being second chance points.
Tymbr Black led the Lady Bucks in scoring with 16 points, including one three-point basket. Rianna Shumway and Journey Baird each scored seven points, with Baird tossing in a three.
Brooklyn Holt ended the game with four points and Tristen Esplin three points. Jessica Slack and Kylie Rogers each scored two points.
Fortunately, Monticello has nearly three weeks off before they play Dove Creek on the road on Thursday Jan. 10, 2019. Hopefully, during this time off the Lady Bucks can regroup, refocus, and get healthy.