The Emery Spartans travelled to Richfield on Friday to play an important region game in terms of final region seeding and second place in Region 15. The Spartans were able to prevail in Emery the last time the two teams met and beat the Wildcats 55-47. Richfield came into the game with a 7-6 record and a 1-2 record in region.
The sophomores were not able to stay perfect on the season and suffered their first loss of the year 46-41. Emery started out the game strong and led the entire first half but in the second, Richfield came on strong and the Spartans werenвЂ™t able to hit shots. The momentum of the game really shifted when in the third quarter the Wildcats had five points on one possession after a three, a foul on Emery, and then a layup. Tyson Roper is the MVP of the game and hustled the entire game, causing deflections and easy buckets. Roper had 11 points and seven rebounds. Tai Justice struggled until the fourth quarter where he turned it on and scored eight straight points for Emery in an attempt to bring the Spartans back; Tai ended with 11. Ridge Nielson and Beau Roundy also played well scoring 10 points and blocking four shots respectively. EmeryвЂ™s sophomores will try to finish out the season with one loss.
The JV team lost to Richfield 74-63 in a game where the score makes it seem closer than it actually was. Until both teams put in their sophomores and Emery had a 30-12 fourth quarter the Spartans were down by as many as 27 points. It started bad early as Emery came out in a 10-3 hole which expanded to 18-4 and just got worse as the game progressed. For example the Spartans were held scoreless for 5 minutes in the second quarter. Despite the loss, Gavin McDermott is the MVP of the game and played hard throughout the game with limited playing time because of foul trouble early. Gavin finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Ridge Nielson also dished the ball well and had eight assists on the game.
The entire varsity game was close and the two teams were tied at the end of all three of the first three quarters and came down to the wire with two big final possessions, one for each team, with differing results. The Spartans would end up losing the highly controversial game 61-59 splitting the season series with Richfield. It was a good start for the Spartans as they came out and gained the lead В before a small run from Richfield including a three at the buzzer tied the game at the end of the first quarter. In the second, Richfield got up 28-20 before Emery would make a small run of their own at the end of the second to come back and tie the game at 32 before halftime. The third quarter was similar to the first as the Spartans got up 36-32 and Richfield came back to tie it up at 41. The fourth quarter was extremely competitive and the game had many lead changes and ties. In the last minute of the game we led by one, then they scored with twenty seconds left, and then Bay Faimalo made a layup to give the Emery the lead with fifteen seconds left. The Wildcats would then come down and hit a clutch three from their freshman, Jaylon Steck with only 2.9 seconds left on the clock. What happened next will probably be argued about for years. Spencer Labrum inbounded the ball to Bay Faimalo who dribbled down the lane and hit a layup as the buzzer sounded seemingly tying the game and forcing overtime but after a couple minute discussion the officials waived the basket and promptly ran out of the gym. One infuriated Spartan fan said вЂњThe officiating was terrible. Bay got the shot off before the buzzer for sure!вЂќ В The games controversial ending was much criticized by all Emery fans but there wasnвЂ™t anything anyone could do. В For the game the MVP is Dawson Jensen who played great all game long and dropped 18 points. Bay Faimalo also had a great game and hit many clutch shots before ending with 15 points. The Spartans will play at Grand on Wednesday in another important region game with only three games left on the year.