San Juan basketball teams close regular season

by Rhett Sifford
Sports Editor
There are always fireworks when the San Juan and Grand County basketball teams meet. Their matchups this past week were no exception as both the girls and boys teams concluded regular seasons against their longtime rivals.
On Friday, February 9 the Bronco boys welcomed the Red Devils to Blanding in front of a standing-room-only crowd displaying lots of blue and red in the SJHS gymnasium.
Grand got out the gate a bit faster than the home team, building a 15-8 lead after the opening quarter. San Juan rallied to outscore the Red Devils 14-11 in the second quarter but still found themselves down 26-22 at the half.
The Broncos got some key baskets from Keaton Ivins early in the third quarter which allowed San Juan to maintain enough momentum to eventually tie the game.
But they were unable to regain the lead despite showing much character and tenacity. Grand kept them at arm’s length, leading 46-41 after three and 70-66 at the final buzzer.
A game between the two rivals is never complete without at least one technical foul and at least one spectator ejected from the game. Those in attendance weren’t disappointed in either case.
But cooler heads prevailed on-court and the players put on an excellent show in a hard-fought battle. It was a disappointing loss for the Broncos of course.
A major factor was three-point shooting. The Red Devils drained eight threes in the win while San Juan mustered just two. Also, Grand senior Lane Berry was clutch from the free throw line in the second half.
The Broncos played their hearts out in the loss and left it on the court in the final game of their regular season. Four players scored in double digits in the loss.
Jake Ivins led the way with 15 points and Jagger Nieves poured in 13. Tripp Palmer and Anthony Done both scored 11 apiece.
Keaton Ivins added nine points, all in the second half. Justice Black got four and Weston Jones scored three. Ivins and Jones got the Broncos’ two three-point baskets.
Nieves led the rebounding effort with seven boards. Done pulled down six, RJ Dalley and Jake Ivins got five apiece, Keaton Ivins collected four, Palmer got three, Jones two, and Black one.
Done had three steals and a blocked shot. Nieves, Dalley, and Jake Ivins all had two steals apiece. Palmer had a steal and Keaton Ivins blocked two Red Devil shots.
San Juan finished the regular season with a 9-14 record, ranked 12th in the final Utah 2A standings. They begin the state tournament on Valentine’s Day, Wednesday, February 14 at home against #21 Intermountain Christian.
The tip is set for 7 p.m. and you’ll hear all the action live on Redrock 92 Radio starting at 6:30 with video on
A win would mean the Broncos will head back up to Coalville to take on #5 North Summit in the second round. That game would tip on Saturday, February 17 with the time still to be determined.
The girls team also closed out their regular season against the rival Lady Red Devils, but on the road in Moab on Thursday, February 8.
Grand County had the edge from the start, outscoring San Juan 17-9 in the first quarter and 17-9 again in the second for a 34-18 halftime lead.
The home squad cruised in the second half, winning the third quarter 15-11 and the fourth 17-11 to hand the Lady Broncos a 66-40 loss.
Khimya Fullwood scored 12 points to lead San Juan in the loss. Synessa Atcitty poured in nine, C’ona Dandy added eight, and Shaylin Nez got six points.
Macee Palmer, Kaidence Mitchell, and Ladainia Lopez all scored two apiece, and Hayden Shumway rounded out Lady Bronco scoring with one point. Fullwood and Nez hit two three-point baskets apiece and Dandy scored one.
The San Juan girls finished the regular season with a 3-18 record, ranked 20th in their 2A standings. They traveled to Salina to face #13 North Sevier in the first round of the state tournament on February 13.

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