Despite a stellar effort from senior center Cameron Hoppensteadt, the Grand County High School boys basketball team lost another region matchup, this time against the Spartans in Emery. Hoppensteadt’s 30-point, 20-rebound outing was wasted as Grand fell 70-81 on Wednesday, Jan. 16.
The two teams traded buckets to start the game and the first quarter ended with the Red Devils down by one, 16-15. Senior Connor Guerrero hit a three-pointer to open the second quarter and give Grand the lead. Hoppensteadt then sank two free throws to extend the small margin. However, Grand’s offense began struggling to score and Emery ramped up the pace, getting out into transition on every missed shot. The Red Devils only scored 10 more points in the quarter as the Spartans posted 23 to take a 39-30 advantage into halftime.
Grand drew within five partway through the third quarter, but a few costly turnovers and Emery three-pointers allowed the Spartans to hold off the Red Devils’ run. Each team scored 20 in the third frame as the Red Devils struggled to close the gap. Thanks to a buzzer-beating floater, Emery maintained a nine-point lead going into the fourth.
Grand posted another 20 points in the final quarter but was unable to stop Emery’s fast-paced offense. Emery outscored Grand by two points in the last period to hand the Red Devils the loss.
Hoppensteadt unquestionably had Grand’s standout performance, recording another double-double with 30 points, 20 boards and a couple blocked shots. He battled hard in the post all game, coming up with second chance points and drawing fouls while shooting a very efficient 14 of 15 from the free throw line. Even with his impressive point total, Hoppensteadt did not have the game high as Emery’s Kyson Stilson dropped 32 with four three-pointers. Senior Teddy Park was the only other Red Devil who reached double digits as he scored 11 points with a pair of treys.
The loss drops Grand’s record to 10-4 overall and 1-4 in region play. The Red Devils faced rival San Juan at home on Wednesday, Jan. 23, after The Times-Independent had gone to press. The showdown with the Broncos concluded the first round of Region 15 games as Grand turns its focus to getting better results from its second matchups with region opponents.
First, Grand has a weekend road trip to take on North Sanpete and Manti on Jan. 25 and 26, respectively. Then, Grand will have a home back-to-back the following weekend. At 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1, the Red Devils will play South Sevier and then face Richfield at 4 p.m. on the next day, hoping to avenge two losses from earlier this season.