Grand also lost its consolation-bracket game against Emery the following morning, ending the Lady Devils’ season with an overall record of 14 wins and 11 losses.
“That’s nothing to be ashamed of,” said GCHS head coach Tony Chacon, who added that the team’s goal at the beginning of the season was to finish with at least a .500 winning percentage and at least qualify for a play-in game.
“We surpassed those goals and not only won our play-in game against San Juan, but also the first-round playoff game against Rowland Hall,” Chacon said.
In the quarterfinals against Gunnison, however, Chacon said the Lady Devils came out nervous at the start of the game.
“We turned the ball over the first two times we had it and sort of panicked as we got down 4-0,” Chacon said. “After that, we settled down and the game kind of went back and forth.”
The game remained close, but the Lady Devils had difficulty putting the ball through the net.
“It was a see-saw battle the whole way, but we just couldn’t get anything going offensively,” Chacon said. “They had a man-to-man defense on us the whole game, and we just couldn’t get our shots to fall.”
Grand made just 12 field goals in 51 attempts during the contest, for a meager 23.5 percent shooting average. Senior Shailee Croasmun and her younger sister Talaunee Croasmun each had eight points to tie for the scoring lead for Grand. Alena Geiser added six points before fouling out of the game in the fourth quarter. Brook Schultz led the Lady Devils with 12 rebounds.
Nevertheless, Grand managed to take a 34-32 lead with less than three minutes left. However, the Lady Devils never scored again, missing multiple free throws and field goal attempts in the closing minutes of the contest. Grand had possession of the ball with the score tied and less than a minute left on the clock, but the Lady Devils committed a crucial turnover by throwing the ball out of bounds. Gunnison’s Kennady Jensen then scored inside and was fouled, ultimately converting the three-point play to put the Bulldogs ahead 37-34 with 39 seconds remaining. Gunnison later added another free throw after Grand once again failed to score, bringing the final score to 38-34.
“Our girls gave 110 percent, so I can’t fault them for that,” Chacon said.
The loss to Gunnison dropped the Lady Devils into the consolation bracket, where they faced Emery High on Friday morning. Emery had lost a 44-30 contest to eventual 2A champion Enterprise late Thursday night.
“Emery is a better team than we are, and I think they had something to prove after getting knocked out by Enterprise the night before,” Chacon said. “They kind of took it out on us.”
The Lady Spartans jumped out to a 37-9 halftime lead and cruised to a 70-37 victory over Grand, sending the Lady Devils home from the tournament. On Saturday, Emery went on to beat South Summit 62-51 for the fifth-place consolation title.
Against Emery on Friday, the Lady Devils once again had trouble putting points on the board, converting just 11 of 46 field goal attempts (23.9 percent) and 11 of 18 free throws. Geiser led the Lady Devils with 13 points, while Symony Call added nine and Shailee Croasmun had eight.
Coach Chacon said that despite the season-ending losses, he is optimistic about the team’s future.
“I’m very pleased with what we were able to accomplish this season,” Chacon said. “Next year, I think we’ll do a better job of handling the pressure in the playoffs, because our girls will have had some playoff experience.”