|Emery looking for the loose ball earlier this season.|
"Bummer." With his Emery High Spartans executing his game plan almost to perfection and coming up short by one point, an obviously drained Coach Todd Jeffs could only mutter one word "Bummer. We played well enough to win and we just came up short at the last minute."
Just like that, the basketball season was over. Judge 56 - Emery 55. This game was good. The fans that made the trek to the city saw something special. This was basketball at its best. Two teams-great action-suspense-one winner. Unfortunately, that winner was not us.
The game started with Emery having the hot outside hand, six of seven outside the 3-point line to open up the game. Curt Jensen, three in a row, Mike Truman added another and Brandon Hansen two more before Jensen missed and the Spartans led 20-14 after the firstt quarter.
The Bulldogs came back strong in the second quarter as they went inside to Joe Sasich, a 6'7" post player for Judge. Sasich was the leading scorer in the state for 3-A basketball, averaging nearly 24 points a game. Sasich was the leading scorer in this game but was held to nearly six points under his average as Hansen and Atwood took turns battling the five inch height advantage all night. Sasich never missed on a shot. Judge outscored Emery 13 to 8 in the quarter to trail by just one. Chandler Pearson had all eight Emery points in the quarter.
Emery was outscored by Judge 12 to 7 in the third quarter to take their first lead of the game. Pearson added four more points and Jensen another three for the only points of the quarter.
The fourth quarter turned out to be a barnburner. Bowie Jeffs scored his first points of the night as he turned from passer to shooter. He scored 13 to lead the way for the Spartans. Seth Powell scored his only three points of the night to help keep the Spartans close. After a missed Emery shot, Atwood went up and scored his only basket of the night on a tip-in to keep Emery down by only one.
After a missed Judge shot, Emery came down with the opportunity to take the lead with less than a minute to go. After working the clock down, Powell took the shot from the left corner. Powell's shot sailed over the rim and Jensen plucked it out the air coming in from the right side and laid it in with 13 seconds left to give Emery the lead at 55-54.
As Judge brought the ball down court, a Bulldog pass was deflected by Pearson and unfortunately, right into the hands of Giovacchini who laid it in to give Judge back the lead with 5.4 seconds left. If that ball bounces any other direction, Emery wins the ball game.
Emery gets one last opportunity but the long shot by Jeffs was short and the game was over.
This was a season that exceeded expectations. It was fun and it was exciting.
It is sad to lose but we lost with style. We played hard, we coached hard and we cheered hard.