On Tuesday, Dec. 18, the Red Devils jumped to a seven-point lead after one quarter on the strength of 3-point field goals by Kaden Risenhoover and Dale Thomas. Scoring from Nat Smith and Wesley Rodda helped keep the Red Devils ahead of the Dinos.
Grand maintained its lead to hold a 32-24 halftime margin and a 45-36 lead after three quarters.
The Buckaroos pulled to within 45-41 a minute into the final quarter, but scoring by Rodda, Thomas, Brett Walker and Risenhoover helped preserve the Red Devil victory.
“I think we really came out with some intensity,” said GCHS head coach Travis Clark. “I told them in the locker room we were going to have to match [Monticello’s] intensity, and I think they matched that and extended that even further. Nat [Smith] had a really great game, especially his first quarter for scoring. Brett [Walker] carried us in the third quarter, where he scored all of his points, which was a great job, and Wes [Rodda] and Dale [Thomas] had a great entire game, and our defense was really good.”
Clark praised Smith’s performance on the boards and in thwarting the Buckaroos on defense.
“Nat [Smith] was huge for us: he had 13 rebounds and at least six blocked shots that I saw, which was why he was named the player of the game, even though Dale [Thomas] had the most shots ...,” Clark said. “Nat [Smith] really let us play well.”
Four of Grand’s players scored in double figures for the game. Thomas led the scoring with 20 points, while Rodda had 12 and Smith and Risenhoover each had 11.
“The thing about this game was it really was a whole team effort,” said Clark. “Our defense, our offense … even the kids that only played for a brief time, like [senior Kamron] Call, he only played for a little bit but that little bit helped keep Brett [Walker] out of foul trouble, and Koi [Cook] had five steals and plenty of rebounds. I think it was a great game for us.”
Grand’s luck ran out Friday, Dec. 21, when the Red Devils traveled to Carbon to play the Dinos and suffered a 65-47 loss.
“Carbon came out in a press,” said Clark, “and we didn’t attack it. I think we really played timid. The bottom line was really that we played timid. We had 22 turnovers, I think, and we didn’t shoot the ball very well.
“We missed a lot of shots I think we should have made, but the bottom line is that we played timid. We hustled, but we didn’t attack the basket and we played timid and that’s why we lost.”
The Red Devils have their next games in January, following the holiday break. Grand will travel to play the Richfield Wildcats on Friday, Jan. 4, before returning home to play Waterford on Saturday, Jan. 5. Varsity play at Richfield begins at 7 p.m. while the home contest starts at 4:30 p.m.