On Tuesday, Dec. 11, the Red Devils beat the Green River Pirates, 63-43, at home. Grand got the tip-off, and junior Kaden Risenhoover took the ball straight to the basket, putting Grand on the scoreboard a mere five seconds into the game. Green River followed with a 3-pointer before Red Devil junior Nat Smith scored to bring the score to 4-3.
Grand and Green River traded scoring for the remainder of the first quarter, with seniors Dale Thomas and Brett Walker adding additional shots for Grand, leaving the Red Devils with a slim 14-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Green River scored first in the second quarter, but Grand added two more shots before the Pirates could score again. The second quarter featured an impressive scoring run for Grand led by senior Wesley Rodda and capped off by junior Adam Jenkinson, whose shot at the buzzer gave the Red Devils a 29-17 lead at halftime.
Grand’s accurate shooting kept the Red Devils in the lead through the second half, pushing the Red Devils to victory. The Red Devil junior varsity team also won its game.
“That was a good win,” said head coach Travis Clark. “Green River is a pretty scrappy team and they were better than I thought they were going to be. I think that they played well.
“I think our boys had four consistent quarters. I think our third quarter was the best. Our defense did really well and I think we executed our plays and rebounded and controlled the ball well. We had 41 rebounds, which is huge, which I think is a key factor in why we won. We had a few more turnovers than I would have liked to see, but I’m still encouraged by some of the stuff I’m seeing.”
Grand had several players who gave star performances, led by Rodda, with 14 points, and Smith with 11.
“Wes led our scoring, so I thought he did really well, played really well,” said Clark. “The neat thing about Green River was that... everybody got some playing time. We had some kids like Kamron [Call] who came off the bench and came up four-for-four on the free throws, which I think was really cool.”
Later in the week, Grand traveled to Altamont to play the Longhorns, scoring a 54-46 victory.
The Red Devils outscored the Longhorns in nearly every quarter, and led consistently throughout the entire game.
Grand’s junior varsity team won its game against the Longhorns as well.
Assistant coach Tony Chacon was fairly upbeat about the game.
“I think we played with some good intensity, especially at the start,” he said. “Our defense came out strong at the start and we played pretty well... We didn’t finish real strong, but we had some pretty good shots. I think we missed a few crucial shots and that made the game closer than it should have been. But what I think won it for us was that we controlled the boards really well. I think that was a key factor that propelled us to victory, and we put up a good defense and quite a few 3-point shots.”
Those 3-pointers came courtesy of Red Devil senior Dale Thomas and junior Kaden Risenhoover, who each scored 15 points in the game, making them the leading scorers for the night.
On Saturday, Dec. 15, the Red Devils traveled to Duchesne, where they lost to the Duchesne Eagles 52-41.
Grand actually outscored the Eagles in the first quarter, 13-10, but faltered badly in the second to give Duchesne an 18-26 lead at halftime. The Red Devils trailed 40-23 after three quarters. Grand played aggressively in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t overcome the Eagles’ lead.
Grand’s junior varsity team deafeated Duchesne.
“We came out firing on all cylinders,” said Chacon. “It was intense game through the first quarter and half of the second. I think that Duchesne got... a few breaks in some of the calls, so we got into a little bit of foul trouble. We also got a bit lackadaisical on the defense, so Duchense came back and took the lead at the half.”
Chacon said he was frustrated primarily with the Red Devils’ scoring ability in the game. While Grand made 83 percent of their free throws, the best of their season so far, the Red Devils couldn’t score enough field goals.
“Our offense was what killed us,” said Chacon. “We just could not put the ball through the hoop. We had a lot of good looks at the basket but we just couldn’t finish our shots.”
Walker and Risenhoover were Grand’s top scorers for the game, each putting in 12 points.
“Duchesne is a tough team,” said Chacon. “They had some really intense defense, which we struggled with quite a bit. We really came back in the fourth quarter and tried to make it our game but it was just too far gone at that point. The last three and a half minutes we pulled within nine or 10 points, and we lost by 11, so I think that’s a good effort on our part. We’re always looking to keep improving.”
The Red Devils were scheduled to play at home on Tuesday, Dec. 18, against Monticello before traveling to Carbon on Friday, Dec. 21 to play the Dinos. Varsity play for both contests begins at 7 p.m.