One Shining Moment: Emery High Girls Basketball State Champions
|The Lady Spartans basketball team along with Coach Steven Gordon holds up their brand new banner in front of the studentbody at Emery High. The school honors the Lady Spartans at the school on Thursday. |
It is now just over a week since the Emery High Lady Spartans won the state 3-A basketball championship and I still enjoy reminiscing over the tournament and even the whole season and so back I go. This season was full of promise before the season even began. The coaching staff was quietly optimistic about the upcoming season and the girls were equally, if not more so, optimistic about how good this season might be.
|Team members Jodi Robertson and Rachel Rasmussen with the first place trophy.|
Having come oh so close last year and having been able to smell the roses but not hold them, the returning players seem resolved to correct that injustice with a championship this season.
As a team, they played together over the summer to improve their game and as individuals; they went the extra mile to improve. Camille Fehlberg and Rachel Rasmussen traveled regularly to the city and beyond to play club ball. All the extra effort paid off as now they get to hold and keep the roses.
The team was ranked first by the Deseret News and second by the Salt Lake Tribune before the season began. After last season, this team was no longer a secret as the word was out. The only question to be asked was what was wrong with the Tribune. Head Coach Steven Gordon was questioning himself after he scheduled so many good teams in such a short amount of time and I must confess that I thought he was nuts. I think it was something like 10 games in 18 days with most against ranked teams. But it worked. The team won and won and won. Sure they lost three games but let's look at those three losses.
|Emery High Principal Gwen Callahan congratulates the girls basketball team on behalf of the studentbody and faculty at Emery High. |
First was on the road at Canyon View, the team that edged us out last season. After having defeated Snow Canyon the night before in a rugged battle, as most games in southern Utah have a tendency to be, Emery was flat in this game and could not buy a basket. Nothing wanted to go in and almost nothing did.
Then Emery played four games the next week and lost at Mountain Crest, a 4-A school that made it to this year's 4-A semi-finals, by a single point. After three more games, Emery traveled to Wasatch just before Christmas and lost a close one to the Wasps. And then they would lose no more. Emery was 10-3 as region began and they ran the table 8-0 to put their record at 18-3. Although it was generally easy to win the region games, they did have a spook at Delta as they won in the closing moments of the game. The other games all featured point differentials of around 25 points.
Through the regular season, the three leading scorers in a particular game was never known until the final horn sounded as seven different Spartans would score in double figures and all seven would actually be the leading scorer in a game during the year. Camille, Rachel, Meagan Pearson, Jodie Lundell, ShiAnne Allred, Jodi Robertson and Frankie Komar meshed together well and it seemed not to matter which would score as long as somebody would.
|Camille Fehlberg talks to Andrew Aragon from the Salt Lake Tribune after the championship game.|
And then came the play-offs. A home win over Grantsville was huge, not only because the score was heavily in Emery's favor but because the team now got to travel and it took the onus off the back's of the players to get to St George.
And then came the games. Because of the way games are scheduled by region and not by rankings, the number 1,2 and 3 ranked teams were all in the same half of the bracket. Number 1 Emery played number 2 Hurricane on opening day and came away with a huge win 54-49. Sophomore Jodi Robertson led the way with 17 points while senior Camille scored 14 and sophomore ShiAnne added 12. Emery trailed going into the fourth quarter but being who they are, they came back and won going away.
On day two, Emery played number 3 Wasatch, that same team that defeated Emery just before Christmas. This team with no seniors could not hang with the Spartans today and lost 46-41. Meagan would be the scoring leader today with 12 points while Camille, Rachel and ShiAnne all finished with 9. Rachel and ShiAnne even fouled out as they tried to make the game interesting.
And then came day three with all the inherent pressure of playing in the big game for the second straight year. The opponent was Dixie, a team that Emery had defeated at home in December during all those games in not so many days. Dixie somehow had turned into the Cinderella team because they refused to go away. They just kept sneaking out wins. First, as a region 4th seed, they traveled to Judge and defeated the host team. Doesn't happen all that often. Then Dixie defeated Ogden in the closing minutes, as Ogden could not buy a basket at the end. Then came the Carbon game and another victory by what is now appearing to be magic dust. Again they came from behind as time ran down and now they brought their game to the Spartans.
|Team members: not in order, Lacey Montgomery, Jenni Stinson, Camille Fehlberg, Adriane Weihing, Shalae Cox, Jodi Robertson, Shawnee Allred, Frankie Komar, Chelcee Christensen, Jalee Jensen, Meagan Pearson, Sierra Bridgewater, Abbie Kay, Danavin Reed, Caitlin Hansen, Rachel Rasmussen, Tiffany Tuttle and Bailey Kay. Coaches are Steven Gordon, Lynn Tuttle and Jon Faimalo. |
On this day, Emery would not be denied. Emery won 51-40. After bumping into Camille in the tunnel before the game, I knew something was different. She was tuned in, she was in a zone, she was ready. But knowing this did not make me ready for what was about to happen. Camille came to play and she took the team on her back and off they went.
Lady Spartans season record 2006-07
Nov. 28-Emery, 66, North Sevier, 48;
Nov. 30-Emery, 62, Snow Canyon, 56;
Dec. 1-Emery, 24, Canyon View, 38;
Dec. 5-Emery, 65, Cedar, 32;
Dec. 7-Emery, 61, Payson, 57;
Dec. 8-Emery, 52, Lehi, 43;
Dec. 9-Emery, 55, Mountain Crest, 56;
Dec. 12-Emery, 69, Grantsville, 57;
Dec. 14-Emery, 63, Pine View, 43;
Dec. 15-Emery, 52, Dixie, 41;
Dec. 19-Emery, 44, Wasatch, 56;
Dec. 21-Emery, 48, Uintah, 43;
Jan. 5-Emery, 57, Springville, 38;
Jan. 11-Emery, 65, Juan Diego, 42;
Jan. 16-Emery, 58, Delta, 29;
Jan. 18-Emery, 45, Carbon, 28;
Jan. 23-Emery, 63, North Sanpete, 38;
Jan. 25-Emery, 62, Juan Diego, 27;
Jan. 30-Emery, 36, Delta, 34;
Feb. 1-Emery, 60, Carbon, 40;
Feb. 8-Emery, 61, North Sanpete, 35;
Feb. 17-Emery, 81, Grantsville, 59, 3A first round;
Feb. 22-Emery 54, Hurricane, 49, 3A quarterfinal;
Feb. 23-Emery, 46, Wasatch, 41, 3A semifinal;
Feb. 24-Emery, 51, Dixie, 40, 3A state championship;
Unlike most games, Camille took a shot right off the bat and then she took another and then she took a three-point shot and she made all three. I felt good right about now, as I knew the championship was going to belong to Emery.
Camille, who will be 3-A MVP by both papers or we will know that the world is flat, finished with 27 points and a whole bunch of other stats. She was not to be denied two years in a row. It was special. If you do not believe me, just look at the picture of her big grin that would not go away. Normally quiet, shy Camille was very demonstrative.
ShiAnne and Jodi each backed up the scoring with 9 points each.
Emery did what is sometimes hard to do. They were favored going in and they came out the winners. Every team took their best shot at the Spartans and Emery won 22 times. This was a special year and the coaching staff should be appreciated for all that they did. Coaches Steven Gordon, Lynn Tuttle and Jon Faimalo took this talent and created a winning team.
They molded and sculpted and encouraged and brought a winning attitude. The girls worked hard, both as a team and as individuals and they have earned this championship. Congratulations team, we had fun.