The Grand County High School girls basketball team lost its final two games last week, but the Lady Devils still managed to end their year on a high note as senior Cassie Lema drilled a three-pointer at the final buzzer of the season’s last game, a 44-29 loss to San Juan at Moab on Feb. 7.
“That was a great note to end on,” said GCHS head coach Rick Lopez, whose team finished the season with a 2-16 overall record, 0-8 in region play. Although the Lady Devils improved on their winless record from last season, they failed to make the playoffs for the second straight year.
Lema, competing in her first and only season of basketball, had only seen limited playing time on the junior varsity squad throughout the season, but she got the nod to start in Grand’s last varsity game. The Lady Devils managed to keep the contest close at the beginning, staying with the Lady Broncos throughout the first period. The score was tied 8-8 near the end of the first quarter, but San Juan was on a roll from that point, going on a 22-4 run to take a 30-12 halftime lead.
“We started out great but no shots would fall. I feel like we were getting the better looks at the basket but nothing would go in,” Lopez said.
The Lady Broncos stayed comfortably ahead throughout the second half. However, in the game’s final seconds, Lema let fly with her unexpected long-distance shot. The three-point field goal marked the first and only varsity points of Lema’s high school career, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Junior Teaven Fredericks led the way for the Lady Devils with eight points, while senior Linda Minor added seven. Freshman Madi Jones scored four points, Alexandra Gomez and Lema each had three and Brook Schultz and Symony Call each made two points against San Juan.
Minor and Lema joined four-year point guard Torrie Lopez in receiving senior recognition honors before the game.
With the victory, San Juan improved to 8-11 overall, 2-6 in region play. The Lady Broncos managed to secure the region’s fourth-place seed for the 2A state playoffs, which begin this week.
Two days prior to the loss to San Juan, the Lady Devils traveled to Castle Dale to play the Emery Spartans. Emery jumped out to a 15-2 lead in the first quarter and cruised to a 54-24 victory in that Feb. 5 contest.
Torrie Lopez led the Lady Devils with six points against Emery, while Schultz added five and Jones and Call each contributed four points. Minor and Fredericks each had two points, and Kylie Haycock scored one point.
“Even though our record doesn’t show it, we improved so much from where we began the start of the year,” said coach Lopez. “Having so few players [on the roster], these girls got a lot of court time, which should really help them for next year.”