San Juan girls battle and hang on for big upset win over Grand County
by Rhett Sifford
Coming into their matchup with the San Juan girls basketball team on Tuesday, January 10 the Grand County girls had won 11 games and lost just two.
They are playing an independent schedule this season, but that record was good enough to place them in the top three of all six Utah girls basketball classifications.
In those 13 games the Red Devils had outscored their opponents 724-451 on the season and 644-327 without the two losses.
The San Juan girls were heavy underdogs, coming into the game with three wins and eight losses. In the teams’ first meeting – San Juan’s season opener on November 16 – Grand won by 13.
Bronco head coach Kade Palmer said his girls had only gotten two days of practice in before that first game so they knew the second meeting would be different. They weren’t disappointed.
In the opening quarter it seemed as if the Red Devils might cruise to another win, as they opened a 16-11 lead. But it was the middle two quarters that ultimately decided the game.
In the second quarter the San Juan defense held Grand to just 11 points while the Bronco offense scored 19 to take a 30-27 lead.
In the third San Juan held Grand to a measly nine points while their own 15 gave the Broncos a 45-36 lead heading into the final frame.
As we all know, a game is never over until it’s truly over. Grand forced San Juan to leave it all on the court when they rallied in the fourth to score 21 points.
But the Broncos poured 13 into the bucket to sneak out of their home gym with a 58-57 skin-of-their-teeth win. It was San Juan’s biggest win this season, a fairly major upset, and a rivalry victory to boot.
Following the win, Coach Palmer said, “As a coach I was just very pleased to see our girls play great team ball and work hard until the final whistle.
“It’s more stressful than fun to have games be that close,” he continued, “but if you can’t get excited about a game that comes down to the wire like that with two good teams fighting that hard to win, you need to check your pulse and make sure you’re still alive.”
Unfortunately the remainder of the week didn’t go as smoothly with San Juan suffering Region 19 road losses to Enterprise and Parowan Friday and Saturday, January 13-14.
Following the week’s action the Broncos were 4-10 on the year, ranked 14th in the 2A RPI standings. They closed out their week with another local rival in Monticello on Tuesday, January 17.
The rest of the week is pretty light. They’ll host the #6 South Sevier Rams in a region contest on Friday, January 20. Coming into the week the Rams were 7-6 but they played #1 Kanab on Wednesday, January 18.