|Zeke Atwood goes up for the block.|
The Emery High Spartan boys basketball team, with two home losses last week, went from co-region favorite to the unthinkable possibility of missing the state play-offs. The losses to Delta and Lehi have left the Spartans tied with Delta and North Sanpete with 2-3 records and only one half of a game ahead of Carbon, who comes to town Friday night. Lehi is now untouchable at 5-0.
After playing less than exciting basketball in the first half against Delta, the Spartans came out after halftime and played more of the same. Coach Jeffs said, "This is frustrating, awfully frustrating. Delta shows up and played the game like they were supposed to. We show up and go through the motions. It's about being ready to play. Everyone showed up and just went through the motions. We are better than this."
The Spartans were outscored in every quarter except the last as the Rabbits won 62-57. Bowie Jeffs led the Spartans with 29 points and Pearson added 17, but the Spartans did not look in sync all night. They showed patience on offense (too much maybe) and were a step (or two) slow on defense and the officiating was lousy to make it a really bad night.
The Spartans sent Delta to the free throw line 51 times while the Spartans only got there 19 times themselves. This game was only close because the Rabbits were able to only connect on 24 of the shots, as they put up brick after brick. Although the Spartans had to foul at the end, the officials put Emery in trouble from the beginning. Four Spartans fouled out and four more had four fouls.
On Friday, the Lehi Pioneers came to town and dealt Emery a devastating defeat 60-33. It was not the loss so much as how it came about. The Spartans scored just two points in the first quarter as their offense seemed to move with no end result in mind. The home fans were dazed by the game. The starters were replaced with 5:50 left in the first half by the JV starters as they had now scored only once in a little over 10 minutes of play. That team of Mike Blomquist, Trevor Tuttle, Darrin Winn, Joey Bernard and Brad Sitterud went out and immediately brought the crowd to life as Blomquist took the ball to the hoop and was fouled. With this being the first varsity action of the year for most of these guys, they were not going to go down with out playing hard and scrappy. Blomquist led the Spartans with five points at the half and Isaac Bawden hit a three as the Spartans trailed 25-10 at intermission.
The JV's started the second half and played the entire third quarter. Davey Justice, a freshman led the team with all 6 points as the Spartans were now down 41-16. The starters came back in the fourth quarter and attacked the basket as they were given explicit instructions not to shoot 3's. Pearson led the team with 10 points, as he hit a basket and 8 of 10 free throws in the final quarter.
The players and the coaching staff have all week to right the ship, as they do not play until Friday night when the Dinos come to town. Game time 7 p.m.