“That was a big win for us, for us to be able to get that huge weight off our backs and get our first region win,” said GCHS head coach Tony Chacon. The Lady Devils hadn’t won a region game since beating South Sevier 50-48 in double overtime on Feb. 12, 2011.
Against Wasatch Academy, Grand got off to a slow start, managing just six points in the first period, which ended in a 6-6 tie. Half of Grand’s points that quarter came on a 3-pointer made by senior Alena Geiser on the first shot of the game. The Lady Devils gained momentum and ended up outscoring the Tigers 17-9 in the second period and 18-10 in the third to build a 16-point lead heading into the final period.
Sophomore Talaunee Croasmun scored 16 points to lead the way for Grand, while Sadie Hansen and Shailee Croasmun added nine points each. Brook Schultz added eight points and five rebounds.
Wasatch Academy was led by guard Keyani Rivera’s 24 points, but the Tigers had no other players in double figures, as inside post players Danielle Christian and Fatim Samake were held to nine and six points, respectively. Chacon praised sophomore center Symony Call and Schultz in particular for their defense underneath the basket, along with their rebounding efforts.
Grand made just 6-of-16 free throw attempts during the game, but the Tigers shot even worse from the free throw line, converting just 3-of-18 attempts. “We need to start improving on our foul shooting,” said Chacon, who added, “Still, we played a good game all around, and it was a big confidence boost for us.”
The Lady Devils also traveled to Price to play Pinnacle Academy in a non-region game on Saturday, Jan. 11. Grand won that contest by a score of 49-21.
“We were up 29-3 at the half, and allowed no field goals at all in the first half,” Chacon said. “We came out with a lot of confidence, and played probably our best defensive game so far this year.”
Shailee Croasmun led Grand with 12 points in the game, while Talaunee Croasmun added nine. Teaven Fredericks and Hansen each contributed eight.
Chacon said his favorite moment of the game was a long fast-break pass from Geiser to Talaunee Croasmun that went three-quarters the length of the court in the air before being caught in mid-stride by Croasmun and banked off the glass for a layup. “It was a work of art,” Chacon said of the play.
This week, the Lady Devils, who are now 8-2 on the year, 1-0 in Region 15 play, were scheduled to play the San Juan Broncos in a region game at Blanding on Tuesday, Jan. 14. Grand’s next contest after that will be at home vs. Emery on Tuesday, Jan. 21.