One cannot be sure if it was the extra-long bus ride to Monroe — or just a one-game slump — that overshadowed the Grand County Red Devils boys’ basketball team as they fell to South Sevier on the road, 70-56, on Friday, Feb. 2.
With the loss, the Red Devils fell to second place in 3A Region 15 competition, though they still have a chance at the league title if the Rams drop another game before the end of regular season play.
The game started out equal enough; the Red Devils kept it close in the first half, with Grand only trailing by six points at the end of the first half. In the first two quarters of play, Alec Williams and Masen Ward led the offense with eight points each — and six of Ward's points came off a pair of back-to-back three-pointers from far outside the arc.
The Rams’ defense was stymieing, however, as it held perennial shooter Brayden Schultz to just a pair of baskets in the second quarter. Even Cameron Hoppensteadt, another big shooter for Grand County, could only muster a single three-point shot in the first half.
And what was bad in the first half was only amplified in the second as the Rams outscored Grand County by 10 points, 39-29, holding Hoppensteadt to just two buckets and allowing Schultz only three of his own.
A bright spot for the Red Devils — one that almost turned the tide early in the third quarter — was the pinpoint accurate three-point shooting of Nolan Ramirez. He drained three treys from outside the paint and was strong on defense with four rebounds.
Williams and Ramirez finished with 13 points, while Ward added 11 by game’s end. Schultz was also in double-digits with 10 points.