by Tad Barton The Monticello Buckaroos improved to 6-1 on the season by defeating San Juan on December 22nd in Blanding.
After Monticello seemed to be pulling away at half time, the Broncos made a run in the third and another late in the game.
However, the Bucks were able to hold off those runs by San Juan with great shooting from the free throw line and picked up the win, 61-54.
San Juan gained the early advantage after edging out Monticello in the first quarter, 9-7. The game stayed close throughout most of the second quarter until the Bucks made a run just before the half to claim a 25-20 lead at the intermission.
The Broncos come out in the third quarter and held the Bucks to just eight points in the period.
San Juan’s defensive effort, along with the 12 points they scored in the quarter, cut the Monticello lead to one point, 33-32, heading into the final eight minutes of the game.
The Bucks were able to build a double digit lead in the fourth quarter and looked to have the game in hand before another rally by the Broncos pulled San Juan back to within three points.
With time running out, San Juan was forced to foul and Monticello used excellent free throw shooting down the stretch to seal the deal and earn the victory, 61-54.
Jordan Blake led all scorers with 26 points, while Matt Freestone led the Bucks with 19. Caleb Pugh was the only other Bronco to hit double digits, scoring 11 points.
Tyler Bird and Eli Johnson eclipsed the ten-point mark for the Bucks, with 13 and 12 points respectively.
Carson Duncan and Nolan Freestone each scored six points for the Bucks, while teammates Austin Hart and Tobin Esplin chipped in two points each.
Andrew Torres rounded out the scoring for Monticello with one point.
For San Juan, Max Slavens scored five points, Jaden Torgerson and Zach Brown each finished with four points, Jaxon Lee had three points and Bronz Eldredge had one point in the loss.
San Juan next plays in Kanab at the Cowboy Classic Tournament beginning December 29. The Broncos will face off against the host team, the Kanab Cowboys, at 7 p.m.
The Bucks travel to Tabiona on January 8 to take on the Tabiona Tigers. The game is set to tipoff at 7 p.m. as well.