Spartans head to state: Great games lead teams to E Center for state tourney
Emery advances in 3-A play with 49-41 win
Last week, Emery avenged an earlier loss at Heber City and defeated the talented Wasatch Wasps in the first round of the state 3-A basketball tournament 49-41 in Castle Dale. In a ball game earlier in the week, Emery defeated Union High School 70-44 to take their record to 15-4.
The victory over Wasatch was sweet, as it did not come easy. After Wasatch defeated Emery 70-53 early in January, the Wasps came to Castle Dale confident that they would prevail again against the Spartans. For three and a half quarters, the Wasps were right as they maintained up to a seven-point advantage.
Emery led 12-8 in the first quarter before Wasatch nailed a long 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut Emery's lead to one point. Wasatch, with the 3, was actually on a 9-0 run as they grabbed the lead at 17-12. Emery then went on their own run and outscored the Wasps 9-1 over the next 2 minutes to lead 21-18 and then Wasatch closed out the half on a 7-0 run to lead 25-21 at the half.
Emery tied the score at 25-25 but then Wasatch outscored Emery 12-5 to lead by seven points after three periods. In the fourth quarter, Emery narrowed the gap to 36-37 as they scored the first six points of the fourth quarter.
Wasatch stretched the lead back to 41-36 with 3:37 to go in the game but little did anyone know that Wasatch would not score again in the game.
With 3:07 to go, Nevin Jensen hit a 3-pointer from the left corner to narrow the lead to 41-39. After an Emery free throw narrowed it to 41-40, Jason Giles hit a 3-pointer to put Emery up 43-41 and the partisan crowd went absolutely berserk as their team was winning and the noise never subsided the rest of the game. Emery won the final quarter 19-4 as the stunned Wasps sat meekly as the Spartans celebrated.
Colton Barnett was absolutely amazing in this game. Playing probably his best high school game ever, Colton was the man throughout the game as he anchored a good defense. Colton scored 14 points through the first three quarters to help keep the Spartans close. Besides the points, Barnett was amazing as he pulled down 12 rebounds, blocked eight shots and had three steals.
Giles also scored 14 points, had two steals and one assist and one rebound. Nevin scored 12 points, had three steals, two assists and a rebound.
Karson Jensen only scored one point in this game but he pulled down nine rebounds, had two assists and a blocked shot. Gatlan Huntington scored five points and had four rebounds.
Cameron Hansen scored a big basket in the fourth quarter and had 4 rebounds. Brett Mecham hit a free throw in the final period and had two rebounds and three assists.
Earlier against Union, Emery trailed at the half 24-21, tied the score at 33-33 in the third quarter and then ran the score to 53-33 as they went on a 22 point run. Emery's final two quarters were 23-9 and 26-11 in their advantage as they romped at will.
Scoring in the game was Giles and Karson Jensen with 16 points each, Hansen with eight points, Nevin with seven points, Tanner Procarione with six points, Mecham with four points, Barnett and TJ Furner with three points, Huntington, Kash Jewkes and Derek Tuttle with two points each and Taylor Tanner with one point.
Emery will now play Bear River at 9:30 a.m. this Thursday in the E Center as state play continues. Bear River has been ranked number one most of the year but the Spartans are confident in their ability to play with anybody.
Coach Jeffs after the game, "We out-rebounded them tonight. That was huge. We needed fewer turnovers but we won anyway because our press threw them off. Barnett was unbelievable as he dominated the paint. The crowd really helped us tonight as they went wild in the last couple of minutes."