Abbie Kay puts up a shot against the Rams.
It was a game featuring two second-place finishers in last season's state tournaments. It was a game featuring two teams that had been to the finals at state three times each in the past several years but this season it was all Emery as the Lady Spartans defeated the South Sevier Rams 66-45.
Although South Sevier has struggled early in this season as they replace several starters from last season's team, these South Sevier Rams lost a close game last season for the 2-A state championship to Richfield and had won the 2-A state championship the two previous seasons.
Emery had their game going from the outset as they quickly ran out to a 10-1 start and then led 21-3 late in the first quarter. Emery was equally efficient on both defense and offense and took the Rams out of their game. The first quarter was all Emery until Abbie Kay and Taylor Mann each picked up their second foul of the game and both went to the bench. South Sevier went on a 7-2 run to close out the period.
Abbie quickly scored six points on a 3-pointer, a basket and a free throw in the first quarter but then the period belonged to Taylor after that. It seemed that everything Mann tried worked as she had five baskets and a pair of free throws in the period and didn't miss a shot. Taylor is equally efficient away from the basket as well as in close.
In the second quarter, the Emery lead was cut to 10 points until Abbie and Taylor, both sitting on the bench with two fouls, returned to the game and helped the Spartans build their lead back to 18 points at 39-21. Taylor Mann finished the first half with 19 points. Tayler Jewkes ran the point well, got the ball down court against the Ram defense and quietly scored eight points on a pair of 3-pointers and another long shot.
In the second half, Emery came out of half-time motivated and went on a 12-2 run as the Emery team played great defense in taking away all open looks for the Rams. Emery built their lead to 30 points as they won the period 16-4 and led 55-25 after three periods. With Mann saddled with foul trouble, the rest of the team took on the scoring for Emery. Abbie scored six more points in the third quarter, Jewkes added another 3-pointer and Jenni Stinson had a pair of baskets.
The fourth quarter was mostly subs for both teams as South Sevier outscored Emery 20-11 in the final period to cut a little into the Spartan lead.
After the game, Head Coach Steven Gordon congratulated his team for coming to play, "That was a good win. We beat a good team tonight."
Mann finished the game with 20 points, five rebounds, two blocked shots, a steal and an assist. Kay finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, three steals and an assist. Jewkes had 11 points, two steals and two assists in the game.
Jessica Murray only scored two points but finished with six assists, four rebounds and a steal while guarding South Sevier's best player. Stinson scored eight points and pulled down a couple of rebounds.
Off the bench, Brooke Jensen scored six points and had three rebounds and three steals. Also scoring were Markette Tanner with two points, Shailee Stokes with two points and Jeridi Price with a point.
Emery finished with 13 steals in the ball game, 10 assists and 23 rebounds.
Emery will host Juan Diego tonight at the Spartan Center in the final pre-season game. Emery will start region play this Thursday as they host North Sanpete. Varsity games start at 7 p.m.