Bulldogs get aggressive, take down Duchesne, 57-53, then Monticello, 65-60; move up in ranking to No. 9
By Matt Harris
GUNNISON—The Gunnison Valley boys’ basketball team showed more fight last week than any other time this season.
The Bulldogs eked out two impressive wins over teams right on par with them in the UHSAA RPI rankings, taking down Duchesne, 57-53, and Monticello, 65-60, last week, moving their overall record to 8-5 as they occupy the No. 9 spot in the RPI rankings.
“Despite losing a few games, we have been playing competitive basketball,” Coach Ben Hill said. “We just happened to be playing high ranked teams in 2A and 3A. Duchesne was the region opener for us, and it was at home. We knew we would have the size advantage, and our focus was to win the rebounding battle and attack the rim on offense. The team did a fantastic job in both areas.”
The Bulldogs could never quite shake the Eagles, who held an early 14-11 lead after one quarter. Gunnison took the lead by halftime with a solid scoring run and went to the locker room with a 28-25 advantage.
The Bulldogs’ size led to 34 total rebounds, and after a high-scoring fourth quarter for both teams, Gunnison sealed the victory.
Senior Braxon Sylvester and junior Creed Mogle both contributed 13 points while junior Janzen Keisel chipped in 10.
Monticello was new territory for the Bulldogs, who had never face the Buckaroos as a region foe before. Once again, the Bulldogs were able to use their considerable height advantage against a smaller opponent.
The scoring duties fell primarily into the hands of one fireball named Janzen Keisel. The junior finished with an astounding 30 points.
“It was clear, they did not have a defensive answer for Janzen,” Hill said. “The guys did a great job of feeding him early and often. This is just his fourth game of the season since returning from an injury. He is working hard to improve his conditioning, but he has a motor that never turns off.”
Despite incredible individual performances all around, Monticello wasn’t going anywhere, and it took all the way until the fourth quarter before Gunnison was able to extend its 1-point lead.
Mogle backed up Keisel with 18 points of his own.
The Bulldogs, after playing North Sevier last night, will now face North Summit tomorrow night. The Braves, usually one of the strongest teams in the 2A classification, look to be having an off-year with a 5-8 record.