|Darrin Winn for Emery goes up with a shot. Winn is the fourth top scorer in 3-A boys basketball.|
Last week was supposed to cement the Emery Spartans as the best team in Region 8 boys basketball but a home loss to a good Juan Diego team threw the region race wide open. Emery lost to Juan Diego 57-54 before hosting Granite and coming out with a 67-54 victory.
Although Juan Diego is a really good basketball team, Emery lost this game for a couple of reasons. In Coach Todd Jeffs words, "They took the middle away from us. They were quite physical underneath and it was tough for us." The other Emery problem was keeping control of the ball as Emery had 15 turnovers compared to only 6 for the Soaring Eagles. In the decisive fourth quarter, Emery had five unforced turnovers that prevented a complete comeback.
In the opening quarter of the game, Emery got out to an early 10-5 lead before Juan Diego came back strong to win the quarter 16-12. Dempsey Jeffs led the team with 5 points. Emery lost the second period also as the Eagles outscored Emery 14-13 to lead at the half 30-25. Juan Diego had a balance inside, outside attack versus only an outside game for Emery.
The third period belonged to Emery as they came out after the half and outscored Juan Diego 14-7 in the period to lead 39-37. Jeffs had another 5 points in the quarter to pace Emery along with Dave Justice's 5 points.
Emery had opportunity to win this game in the end but simply could not get over the hump. Darrin Winn finally came to life and scored 7 points to get the Spartans within three. Kyler Edgehouse missed on a 3-point attempt with 30 seconds left that would have tied the game. Josh Eden then also missed on another 3-point attempt with 15 seconds left that also would have tied the game. Emery was only 4 for 10 from the free throw line in the final quarter but Juan Diego also missed some free throws down the stretch that helped keep the game close.
Coach Jeffs was happy with his guard's play as he commented, "Our perimeter guys stepped up and did a good job tonight."
Jeffs led the team with 13 points while Winn added 12 points. Justice finished with 11 points, Josh Eden added 9 points, Vic Rosen added 7 points and Edgehouse had 2 points.
On Friday night, Emery opened up a 27-6 lead after the first quarter before coasting home with a 13-point victory margin.
Unfortunately, when you play an inferior team, you can only keep your intensity up so long. Granite, a school that stops athletics after this school year, simply put does not retain the best athletes that live within their boundaries. They go to another school and the schools athletic teams pay the price with loss after loss.
After opening up a 30-point lead, Coach Jeffs played several players that usually never see varsity action till the end of the game. Although the outcome of the game was never in doubt, as a fan and probably as a coach, you wanted to see your team a little more disciplined down the stretch. Granite outscored Emery in the third quarter 20-15 and in the fourth quarter 13-6.
Scoring in the game for Emery were Justice with 25 points, Winn with 14 points, Eden with 12 points, Rosen and Jeffs with 6 apiece, Kyler Edgehouse with 3 points and Kade Jones with 1 point.
Emery travels to Delta Wednesday night before hosting the hot Carbon Dinos on Friday night. Carbon is 9-5 on the season and defeated Juan Diego in Price last week 68-56. Carbon leads region play with a 3-0 record. Juan Diego is 11-3 for the season.