The Grand County High School girls basketball team picked up a pair of victories last week to extend its winning streak to four heading into the new year. On Dec. 18, the Red Devils travelled to Price and beat the Pinnacle Academy Panthers, 64-27. Then on Friday, the team held off a fourth quarter rally by Green River to defeat the Pirates, 58-48 at home.
In Price, Grand picked up a solid win, outscoring Pinnacle in every frame. The Red Devils built a comfortable lead early, going up 21-5 at the end of the first quarter. Despite starting the second half up by 19 points, the team didn’t let off the gas in the third quarter. Grand held the Panthers to only 2 points in the third while pouring on 19 to effectively put the game out of reach.
Leading Grand in scoring was senior Hannah Owen, who put up 20 points while shooting 50 percent from the field. Senior guard Mercedes Zunich racked up 18 points, including 4 makes from downtown, and swiped four steals. But it was senior center Veda Gritts that really stuffed the stat sheet for Grand. She recorded a double-double by penciling in 17 points and 19 rebounds. Gritts also lead the team in assists with 9 and swatted away 4 shots.
Back defending their home court on Friday, the Red Devils took on Green River in a rematch of the season opener. Grand beat the Pirates by more than 30 points in Green River in November, but this time it was a tighter contest.
Green River opened the scoring with a fast-break layup, but Owen quickly responded by slicing in from the wing, catching a pass from Gritts and converting an and-one. The teams traded the lead as Green River’s Talynn Lovato hit a pair of free throws and Gritts answered with a bucket from the low post. Coming out of a Green River timeout, senior Josie Camps hit a floater in the lane and a jumper from the baseline. Gritts added a couple free throws to give Grand an 11-7 advantage at the end of the first.
Gritts started the second quarter by scoring off an assist from Owen, then she returned the favor a few possessions later by setting Owen up for a layup after nabbing an offensive rebound. Grand extended the lead with a few more scores from Owen and Gritts as well as a three-pointer from Camps to go into halftime up 33-17.
Owen got Grand’s first four points of the half, scoring off an offensive board and an assist from Gritts. Grand cranked up the pace and Zunich profited, picking up some points on the break thanks largely to great outlet passes from Gritts. By the end of the third, Grand had extended the lead to 23 points.
Grand started the final frame with most of its starters on the bench. Green River was able to shave down the lead by forcing numerous turnovers, but the difference proved insurmountable. Despite losing the fourth quarter by 13 points, Grand still walked away with a double-digit victory.
Owen and Zunich lead Grand’s scoring effort with 17 apiece. Gritts was close behind with 16 points. Lovato posted the game’s highest total, leading the Pirates with 21 points.
The pair of wins improved Grand’s record to 5-4. Before the Red Devils take on their region opponents, they will play the annual alumni game against former GCHS players. That game is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 28. Grand’s regional schedule begins with a road trip west for back-to-back games against Manti and North Sanpete on the first weekend of 2019. Grand will be back at home for a showdown with South Sevier on Friday, Jan. 11.