Spartans split four games, record 6-4
|Dempsey Jeffs puts up a shot against Grand.|
The Emery Spartans split last week's games in St. George and then came home and split this week's games in the Spartan Center to take their season record to 6-4.
Last Thursday in Castle Dale, Emery faced a talented, tall Dixie Flyer team and lost a hard fought battle 76-64. Two days earlier, Emery hosted San Juan and easily defeated the Broncos 71-43.
The week before, Emery opened the two-day stay with a 52-35 win at the Hurricane Tigers and then did not play well in a 62-39 loss at Pine View. The Panthers are a good team that jumped on Emery early and never let the Spartans into the game.
Back to the Dixie game, Emery found themselves short against a tall Dixie team. Dixie's frontcourt players stand 6'8, 6'5 and 6'5 while Emery is 6'4, 6'2 and 6'1. In this game height did make a difference, as the Spartans had no effective way of stopping the Dixie center once the ball got inside. Although the final margin was 12 points, Emery was within 6 points several times late in the game but saw the deficit increase because they had to foul to try and get the ball back.
Although Emery is a good outside shooting team, the Spartans depend on guards taking the ball to the hoop and that strategy was ineffective in this game. Dave Justice and Dempsey Jeffs are usually dependable inside but on this night the shots were either blocked or the shots were altered by the tall presence of the Dixie center and did not fall.
Justice was the leading scorer in the game for Emery with 21 points including 11 for 15 at the free throw line. Jeffs scored 14 points, all in the first half. Kyler Edgehouse also finished in double figures with 13 points including 8 straight points in the third quarter. Jordan Gee hit two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
Against San Juan, Emery got out to a 17-12 first quarter lead and then proceeded to increase the lead in each quarter thereafter to get the relatively easy win. Justice again led the way, this time with 19 points, 5 assists and 9 rebounds. Jeffs finished with 9 points and 10 rebounds. Edgehouse finished with 8 points and 6 rebounds.
Gee had 8 points, Tyler Killpack only scored 1 point but led the team with 11 rebounds. Also scoring were Gatlin Huntington with 7 points, Skyler Jorgenson with 6 points, Karson Jensen with 4 points, Brett Mecham with 3 points, Nevin Jensen, Cameron Hansen and Kyle Johansen with 2 points each.
At Hurricane, Emery broke open a close game in the third period to get the win. Emery was ahead 20-16 at the half and outscored the Tigers 16-5 in the quarter and then finished off the game with a good fourth quarter.
Justice again was the leading scorer and one of three Spartans in double figures. Justice had 17 points today. Karson Jensen finished with 14 points and Jeffs had 12 points. Gee had 5 points and Edgehouse and Blake Mortenson each had 2 points.
And then there was Pineview. There is really not anything that can be said about this game other than it is one you do not want to dwell on. Every once in awhile, a game like this will sneak into a teams schedule and it is best to view it as a wide-awake nightmare. The highlight of the game was the fact that Jeffs showed up to play and scored 17 points.
Emery got down early and never recovered. They lost the scoring battle in every period and no other Spartan besides Jeffs scored in more than one period of the game. Although Justice, Jeffs, Edgehouse and Karson fouled out, the game had long been over.
Emery now stands 6-4 for the season and is in great position to make a run at a region title. Delta appears to be the early favorite but the region is up for grabs with all five teams in contention. Emery will come back from the break with two road games at Morgan and Moab and then will start region with Juan Diego in Castle Dale on Jan. 12.