|Dempsey Jeffs tries to get a hand on the ball as the Delta player goes to the hoop.|
Spartans fight for play-off position
With one week to go in Region 8 basketball action, the Emery High Spartans find themselves in a dogfight for the right to advance to the 3-A play-offs this season. With Juan Diego and Delta wrapping up the first and second place seeds already, the Spartans, Carbon Dinos and North Sanpete Hawks are fighting for right to represent the region in the final two spots this year.
Emery currently has a 2-5 region record, as does Carbon. The Hawks are 1-5. With Emery's 65-39 defeat of Carbon last week, Emery has now defeated Carbon twice this season. Carbon, on the other hand, has defeated North Sanpete twice this season while North Sanpete has defeated Emery once and these two teams close out the season this Friday night in Mt. Pleasant.
So here is what it means in terms I can understand. If Emery wins, they finish third, Carbon is fourth and North Sanpete is done for the season. If North Sanpete wins, we have a three-way tie for third and then we have a coin flip or a play-in game or a combination of the two to decide placement.
Last week Emery also played Delta in Castle Dale and lost a close one 73-66. Emery fell behind 22-9 in the first quarter and it appeared for just a second that this game was over. After trailing 29-14 in the second quarter, Emery went on a run and narrowed the gap to 29-25 as they hit 11 straight points. Dempsey Jeffs and Nevin Jensen each hit a 3-pointer and Justice had 12 points in the quarter as Emery came on strong and trailed at the half 33-29.
After Jeffs with 10 points and Justice with 6 points kept the game close in the third quarter, Emery got to within 2 points late in the fourth quarter but could not get over the hump and finally take the lead. Kyler Edgehouse went nuts in the fourth quarter as he hit four 3-pointers, almost on consecutive shots, to bolster the Emery effort.
In the closing minute, Emery missed a couple of lay-ups, allowed Delta to grab the rebound on Delta free throws and just plain had no luck when it came to taking the lead. Emery fouls led to the final score.
Justice finished the game with 31 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists for a solid ball game. Edgehouse had 15 points on five 3-pointers and 4 rebounds. Jeffs had 13 points and 2 rebounds. Tyler Killpack finished with 6 points but led the team with 11 rebounds. Nevin had 3 points. Emery was 9 for 11 at the free throw line while Delta was 34 for 51 at the line. Big discrepancy but a fairly well called game.
Against Carbon, Emery got out to the early lead and then added to the difference each quarter. It was 22-10 after one, 38-22 at the half, 51-30 after three periods and 65-39 to close the game. Carbon scored the first basket of the night and then Emery scored the next 13 points, as Emery was deadly behind the 3-point line, as they hit six for the period.
After Justice had led the Emery effort with 12 first half points and 4 more early in the second half, Dave picked up his fourth foul and went to the bench. Jeffs then played some of his best ball of the season as he took over the leadership roll and scored the next 9 points to help extend the lead. With both Justice and Jeffs scoring 20 points, it was too much for the Dinos to handle. Justice also had 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Jeffs had 3 assists.
Edgehouse finished with 9 points, again all 3-pointers, and 5 rebounds. Jordan Gee had 8 points and 4 rebounds. Killpack finished with 2 points and also 5 rebounds. Karson Jensen left the game early after catching an arm to the head and appearing a little woozy.
"Our shooting was phenomenal tonight," Coach Jeffs told his players after the game, "and why, because we took good shots and did not rush them."
Coach Jeffs then looked ahead, "We have got a lot of ball ahead of us if we give the same emotional, hard effort that I saw from you in the first half tonight. We have got to get up for North Sanpete and just go over there and win. We have got to have a fierce effort and we need to keep shooting the ball well. We have control of the situation, let's keep it."
In the two games, Justice was 19 for 19 at the free throw line, a great stat. Also scoring in the Carbon game were Nic Larsen and Kyle Johansen with 2 points and Skyler Jorgensen, Cameron Hansen and Blake Mortensen with 1 point each.
Emery now travels to North Sanpete this Friday night and then travels to Uintah next Monday to close out the regular season.