The Grand County Lady Devils basketball squad opened up the 2017-18 season with a 44-40 non-region victory against Green River on Tuesday, Nov. 21 at home. Although the 1A-Region 19 Lady Pirates came close at a few key moments throughout the game, they were never able to eclipse Grand County and never took a lead against head coach Randy Martin’s squad.
For the Lady Devils, the win came down to the offense of two juniors, Veda Gritts and Hannah Owen, as they combined for 20 and 24 points each, respectively. Owen tallied up 11 buckets and a pair of free throws, while Gritts added 10 goals. Junior Mercedes Zunich went 0-for-2 from the paint.
The Lady Devils led by as many as 8 points in the fourth period. Martin said his team’s offensive set, at least at this early stage in the season, is built around Gritts and Owen, though he expects other players to develop their shooting as the season progresses.
“Our offense, right now, is based off Gritts and Owen, and it’s what we call an attack-and-counter offense,” Martin said. “We attack until we can’t, and then we counter. Those two have it down at this point. They combined for 44 points. We’re going to be successful going forward as we bring the other girls into the offense.”
While Emree Olsen is the smallest player on the court for Grand County — mind you, she stands only 5 foot, 1 inch tall — her defense was gritty and led to a number of Green River turnovers. Martin said Olsen’s ability to see the entire floor helps her when it comes to knowing where the defensive play is.
“As a freshman, Olsen is very solid defensively,” Martin said. “She sees the floor and she is quick. She was able to use that speed on offense in the C-team game to get layups, and she was just as quick on defense in the varsity game.”
It was not an easy win for Grand County; with two minutes to go in the game, Green River’s Alondra Escalante scored two 3-pointers in a row to come to within four points (42-38) of the Red Devils. Grand held on, however, and delivered the win after Owen got the ball back and held it as time expired.
“I think we played pretty well for it being the first game of the season,” Owen said. “We need to work on some things offensively, but we did well together tonight.”
Although the Lady Pirates are a 1A team, the game marked Grand County’s debut as a team that will compete in 3A-Region 15 this year. The Lady Devils will travel to Gunnison Valley on Dec. 2.
The Lady Devils C-team stole the show in the opening game of the evening as Josie Camps led the squad of cagers back from an 11-point deficit in the fourth period. Camps also scored the game-winning basket as time expired. Her last-second shot earned a 26-25 win for a perfect 1-0 start to the year.
Grand County trailed the Lady Pirates 12-8 in the first half — and 21-8 in the third period — but exploded in the fourth period with 18 points. Camps led all Lady Devil scorers with 8 points, going 4-of-7 from the paint. Junior Jessica Larsen added six points off two baskets and a pair of free throws, while Owen put up two buckets. Freshman Tatum Scow went 2-for-2 from the line.