According to Conrad Yanito, who coached both teams, the Thunderbird squads finished out the season at a regional tournament held in Glenwood Springs, Colo., March 22 and 23.
The GCMS seventh-graders won the championship by going undefeated in four games over two days. After defeating host team Glenwood 54-36, the T-Birds then beat Montrose, Colo. and Delta, Colo. in successive games to advance to the title game. Cameron Hoppensteadt led all scorers with 16 points in the 49-38 win over Delta, Yanito said.
In the championship game against New Castle, Colo., the GCMS seventh-graders crused to a 58-45 win, thanks to 13-point scoring efforts by both Hoppensteadt and Nolan Ramirez.
The GCMS eighth-grade team also won their first two games at the Glenwood tournament, beating Olathe, Colo. in the first round by a score of 57-39. Josh Jones led all scorers with 14 points for the T-Birds. Grand Middle then defeated Parachute, Colo. 47-31, setting up a title game matchup vs. the Montrose, Colo. Indians.
“The game was a defensive battle, right from the get-go,” Yanito said. “We kept our poise and stayed disciplined in our defense, but our offense didn’t stay consistent like our defense. We gave up too many turnovers and missed some crucial free throws.”
Montrose ended up taking home the first-place trophy, leaving the T-Bird eighth-graders in second place.
“Montrose was a well-rounded team, and our boys did extremely well,” added Yanito, who said he was pleased with how well GCMS represented Utah at the Colorado event. “Both the seventh- and eight-grade teams had a great season, and the coaches, parents, and the community are all very proud of their dedication and hard work. Thanks to all sponsors who made our season a success.”