|Gatlan Huntington and Kyle Johansen, play tough defense.|
In a typical start for the first game of a new basketball season, the Emery High Spartan boys and their opponent, the Union Cougars, each got off to a rough start. The first half was marked with excessive turnovers, missed open scoring opportunities, a lot of fouls and just plain generally ragged basketball at times. In the game played at Castle Dale, the Cougars prevailed 57-45.
The Spartans led at the half 23-18 and at the end of third quarter 34-32 but the suddenly could-do-no-wrong Cougars took control of the game in the fourth quarter and won going away. Emery was outscored in the final period 25-11.
The teams were both cold from the field to start the game as neither team scored for the first two and one half minutes of the game. Jordan Gee hit a three-pointer for Emery to score the first points of the season.
Dave Justice, the lone senior that saw action in the game, was the leading scorer in the game for Emery with 15 points. Justice, who also had three rebounds in the game, scored six straight points to start the second quarter to help Emery grab the lead.
The only other Emery player to be in double figures was Dempsey Jeffs with 12 points. Jeffs hit two 3-pointers and was six for 12 at the free throw line.
Karson Jensen, a 6'4" sophomore, finished the game with eight points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots. Six of those points came as the first half came to a close. Gatlin Huntington had three points and Cameron Hansen and Kyle Johansen each scored two points in the game.
Coach Todd Jeffs just might have the youngest team he has ever had at Emery High School. The players playing consisted of one senior, five juniors, three sophomores and one freshman. With only Justice and Jeffs returning with any great varsity experience, the preseason promises to be one filled with ups and downs as the young team gains experience.
After the game Coach Jeffs told his players, "We got a lot of work to do but I think we can make it. You need to keep your chins up."
Emery now travels to Cedar City this Friday to play Cedar and then in one week will travel to Heber City to play Wasatch. Emery will be home on Dec. 8-9 as they host the 9th Annual Coal Country Classic. Seven high schools will join Emery in the two-day affair.