Playing without two starters and another three important contributors, the Emery Spartans opened up the 2014-15 season with a nailbiter against cross-county rival Green River Wednesday night.
Senior Tai Justice hit three big three-point buckets in the third quarter to help spur a comeback to upend the Pirates 52-49. Justice co-led the team in scoring with 13 points. Tyson Roper also poured in 13 on the night.
First-game jitters were evident in the first half as Emery struggled offensively and faced a 25-19 deficit at halftime. The Pirates played tough and got 15 huge points from senior Thomas Hughes on the night.
The Spartans opened up a 38-31 lead midway through the third quarter, but Green River battled back and took a 49-48 lead with 1:12 remaining in the game. Ridge Nielson then found Koby Butler under the basket for a layup with less than a minute to go that gave the Spartans the lead for good.
Emery will travel to Richfield this weekend for the 2A-3A Preview at the Sevier Valley Center. The Spartans will take on Pine View Friday at 4 p.m. and Hurricane on Saturday at 1:30.
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