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Senior Kayzia Caldwell buries a 3-point shot late in the second quarter to end a scoring drought for the Gunnison Valley girls’ basketball team against Monticello. The Bulldogs went on to win the game, 39-31.

 

Lady Bulldogs drop regional opener, 40-50, come back

with win over Monticello

 

By Ben Lassiter

Staff writer

1-20-2021

 

Another week, another two games split for the Gunnison Valley girls’ basketball team to keep their record at .500.

The Bulldogs, (5-5, 1-1 conf.) travelled first to play at Duchesne (8-4, 4-0 conf.) on Tuesday last week, where they lost their regional opener 40-50. On Thursday, they defeated Monticello 39-31 at home.

The Eagles swarmed with a trap defense, which the Bulldogs could not break early in the game. The first-quarter score ended 16-5 favoring Duchesne.

Eventually, Gunnison Valley Coach Melissa Sorenson said they figured out how to fend off the trap and “played a lot smoother,” and the following quarter was not so lopsided. Still, the Eagles led 25-12 at the half

If the score only counted second-half points, Gunnison Valley would have taken a victory on the bus home with them. Gunnison cut down what once amounted to a 20-point lead to 10 by the end of the game. Duchesne’s victorious effort prevailed despite senior guard Kayzia Caldwell’s 19 points on four 3-pointers.

Two days later, hosting Monticello (1-8, 0-4 conf.), what started as a frustrating first half full of turnovers and fouls and an absence of favorable bounces at the rim ended in a solid victory to finish the week on a high note.

Sorenson said her team found some energy and focus coming out of the locker room to retake the lead and finish strong.

“It was nice to come out in the second half and actually play basketball,” she said.

Her team played smarter, fouling less often and making crisper passes. This helped them get better looks, and in turn, they saw more shots fall. They completed the comeback from being down 15-19 at the half to winning 39-31.

Again, Caldwell hit four 3-pointers, this time tallying 14 points total. One came amid a second-quarter scoring drought. That provided the Bulldogs’ 11th point and helped spark her team to a quarter-ending run, including a high-arching baseline jumper by senior Naomi Willden, that gave some momentum going into the half, Sorenson said.

The Buckaroos (which is Monticello’s official nickname) only managed to score six points in each of the final quarters. Gunnison Valley won the game convincingly in the end.

Senior Josse Peterson and sophomore Rilee Dyreng each finished with seven points.

Next week, the team will host North Sevier (2-9, 1-1 conf.) on Tuesday and travel to North Summit (9-4, 3-0) on Thursday. Sorenson noted that her team will seek to defeat North Sevier for only the second time in two decades.

“We’re sitting at 500 right now, which is well for us. Every day we’re trying to get better and better,” the coach said.