Dillion Wilstead with the score for Emery.
Drexler Tanner, 12, under the hoop for the rebound.
It's not often that one can come away from a 20-point loss and be comforted in the fact that your team played well in a losing effort. Not that it makes the team or the coaching staff satisfied but the Emery High Spartan basketball team knows that they have an excellent shot at playing Wasatch Academy one more time and it is always said that it is tough to beat a good team three times in a row.
Wasatch Academy, one of the best five teams in Utah in any classification, traveled to Emery last Friday night to play their second region game with the Spartans and the home fans were excited by the effort of their team. Even though Emery lost 78-54, the game was not a blowout as the score might suggest.
Emery won the first quarter 18-16 to lead the game after that period. The players and the fans hung on every good thing that happened on the floor. Emery fell behind 39-29 at the half as the Tigers scored on 11 of 13 possessions in the period. There is nothing a team can do when their opponent is that hot.
With just over two minutes left in the third quarter, Emery on a pair of free throws by Gavin McDermott pulled within six points at 48-42. Emery then trailed by nine after three quarters and then Wasatch Academy ran away with the fourth quarter to claim the region title and to go into this week's first round of state playoff with the number one seed from region 15.
Emery will travel to Moab this Tuesday night to face Grand in a game that will decide the second place seed in the region. Emery and Grand are tied in region 15 with 5-4 records. The winner will be seeded second and the loser will be seeded third. Emery defeated Grand earlier in the season 68-54 at the Spartan Center. Emery had a big final period in that game to claim the win in a game that was closer than the final score might indicate.
Against Wasatch Academy, Dillon Wilstead was the leading scorer for the game with 17 points, with 12 of those coming in the first quarter. McDermott scored 16 points and had 8 rebounds against the athletic, lanky Tigers. Gavin is the leading rebounder in 2-A basketball and the seventh leading rebounder in the state. Bailey Faimalo scored 9 points, had 3 steals and 10 assists in the game. Faimalo leads both 2-A and the state in assists for the season and is second in 2-A in steals. Also scoring in the game was McKlane Allred with 9 points, Drexler Tanner with 2 points and Beau Roundy with 1 point.
Wasatch Academy finished the season with a 20-1 record while the Spartans are 14-6 with a game to go. If the boys defeat Grand this week then their 2-A play-in game will be at 8:30 a.m. this Saturday at Orem High School against Rockwell. If they lose the Grand game, their game will be at 1:30 p.m. against either Layton Christian or Merit Academy.
The winners of this week's games in Orem will advance to the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield next Thursday, Friday and Saturday.