Grantsville’s goal is to hold teams to 40 points. It didn’t do that the first time it played Cedar High School back on Jan. 2 in Cedar City.
The score was tied at 23-23 after three quarters, and the Redmen pulled away in a high-scoring fourth quarter to win 50-43.
The setback was one of only three losses this year for the 18-3 Cowboys, who have the No. 1 scoring defense in 3A. The No. 2 defense is Cedar, and the two go at it Saturday at 7 p.m. in Robert Williams Memorial Gymnasium in the first round of the 3A playoffs. The winner will be among the final eight 3A teams in the state tournament at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, which starts on Thursday, Feb. 27.
The Cowboys have been dominant in rematches this year. After a four-point loss at home to Bear River, the Cowboys blasted the Bears by 20 in Garland. They also defeated Ben Lomond and Stansbury by larger margins the second time around.
“It all starts with our eight seniors. I’m really lucky to have one of those teams with players who all get along and have each other’s back. It’s a rare thing in high school athletics, and we have to make the most of it,” said Grantsville coach Chris Baker. “They all stay after practice and work hard. They don’t want to leave the gym.”
The coach said the team motto this year has been “We Will!” “They have tons of confidence right now, and the motto for the state tournament is ‘Why Not Us?’”
Baker said the team just keeps getting better. “I don’t know if they have even peaked yet. We battle in practice against a JV team that went 19-1,” he said.
Grantsville players know they are in for a battle Saturday night against a solid team. Cedar (8-4, 13-8) was one game away from winning its region. “They have two scorers, a 5-11 guard [Kordan] Nielson, and 6-8 post player [Dustin] Staggs. We will overplay those guys on defense. Cedar is a very strong opponent, and we will have our hands full,” the coach said.
Grantsville’s Devin Adams averages 15 points per game, and point guard Devon Arellano averages nine points per outing. Spencer Lawrence has been known to light up the scoreboard. He contributed 12 in Friday’s game at Tooele. Tyler Colson has scored 18 points in the last two games.
Jake Riding leads the team in rebounding and has been stellar on defense, according to the coach.
The winner of the Grantsville-Cedar game will face the winner of the Juan Diego-Juab game.
Tooele’s first-round fate will be determined about one hour prior to tip-off in Grantsville. The No. 3 seed Buffaloes (3-5, 10-12) travel to No. 2 seed Pine View (8-4, 16-5) for a Saturday game at 4 p.m.
The Buffaloes struggled against Region 11’s top two teams Bear River and Grantsville in its last two games. Tooele lost 85-61 at Bear River and 62-44 at home against Grantsville.
The Panthers have lost their last three games against Canyon View, Cedar and Desert Hills after defeating those teams the first time they played them.
Kody Wilstead, 6-6, leads the team in scoring averaging 15 points per game. Two other players average in double figures. Wilstead also grabs 13 rebounds per game.
Senior Justin Pollmann and junior Tyler Lawrence are the scoring threats for the Buffaloes. The pair average 34 points per game between them. Sophomore Ace Hymas leads the team in rebounds.
The winner of the Tooele-Pine View game will play the winner of Payson vs. Uintah