Written by Hayden Johnson
SALINA-Emery lost on the road on Wednesday after heroics from North Sevier’s Colby Christenson sent the game into overtime where the Spartans fell 63-58.
Gavin McDermott continued his consistent play with 16 points and 13 rebounds and Beau Roundy had a break out game with 15 points and 12 boards. Bailey Faimalo was also well on his way to another good game with 9 points and 6 assists before leaving the game at halftime due to a major allergic reaction. Faimalo is doing much better and plans to play in Emery’s next game.
Emery started out the game red hot and the Spartan players were able to force the Wolves into turnovers while knocking down each of their first six shots. Emery played really well in the quarter and the only thing that hurt it was McDermott earning two back-to-back fouls, forcing him to the bench early. The Spartans ended the first up 17-11.
In the second quarter, it was the exact opposite for Emery shooters as the team went ice cold early and North Sevier got back into the game by taking, and making, a lot of 3-pointers to tie it up at 20. Emery’s post players got the Spartans back into a groove offensively as they crashed the offensive glass and got easy buckets. Ending the half on an 8-3 run, the Spartans led at halftime 32-28.
After Faimalo left the game junior Ridge Nielson stepped up and played quality minutes for the Spartans. In a close and tight region battle the teams fought back and forth for the lead. Dillon Wilstead was nailed with a technical foul and North Sevier was able to take the 40-38 lead after three.
Throughout the fourth quarter Emery switched into their press which saw varying degrees of success. At times the Spartans were able to force turnovers which were turned into layups at the other end but at other time the Wolves were able to break the press and get some wide open looks. Emery was able to get out to a three point lead with less than thirty seconds left after some key offensive rebound put-backs by McDermott and Roundy. North Sevier needed a 3-pointer to tie it up. Christenson delivered with a dagger from a couple feet from behind the line with seven seconds left in the game. Dillon Wilstead was able to get the ball all the way to the rim before time expired but missed the contested layup at the buzzer as the game went into overtime.
The overtime period started out very close but botched free throws by the Spartans and North Sevier’s sudden accuracy from deep, Christenson had two more threes in overtime which made six for the game, led the Wolves to the hard fought win.
Free throw shooting, which doomed the Spartans once again, was awful for Emery. It left 16 points on the board as it only shot 14 for 30 on the game as a team. The Spartans once again lost a close region game on the road, albeit without their leader and point guard, in another heartbreaker.
“We need to improve our team chemistry and find the open man.” said Roundy. “When we do that we are really hard to beat.”
The Spartans have an extremely important game on Friday against South Sevier that is instrumental in determining position in Region 15 and seeds in post-season play. Luckily for Emery the game is at home where it has been stellar. Faimalo said “This game is important for our future. It controls our destiny and where we head into the state playoffs. It’s important that we take care of business on our home floor, play loose and do our thing.”