From the beginning of the game, Dillon Wilstead was on a mission. Not only did he score a team-high 22 points, but he carried the Spartans in the second quarter and spurred his team to a title shot Saturday night. Emery upended the defensively-minded South Summit Wildcats 66-55.
Not to be out-shined were the super sophomores, Bowdie Jacobson and Kolton and Koby Butler, who combined to score 20 points, including a 12-17 mark from the free throw line.
After a Wilstead bucket to start the game, South Summit responded with a 7-0 run to take an early lead. Tai Justice, just a day removed from a bad ankle sprain, nailed a three pointer with under 20 seconds left in the first quarter to get Emery to within two of the Wildcats, 16-14, at the end of one quarter of play.
Two free throws by Jacobson at the 6:55 mark of the second gave Emery back the lead at 17-16. The lead went up to 19-16 before South Summit ran off six straight points to regain the lead. Wilstead then took over and willed Emery to a 30-28 lead at the break.
A three-point play by Wilstead to open the third and two technical fouls on Wildcat players during the quarter helped the Spartans lead by as many as eight points. Wilstead chipped in a bucket with seconds to go in the period to lead 48-41.
The Spartan lead ballooned to as many as 11 during the fourth, and coupled with timely free throw shooting, propelled Emery to hard-fought win.
Tyson Roper was the only other Spartan in double figures with 12. Jacobson and Justice pitched in nine.
Emery will take on Manti after the Templars beat Enterprise in the other semifinal on Friday night. Manti and Emery squared off in Castle Dale on Dec. 12. The Spartans beat the Templars 88-87. The 3A title game will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday and can be watched live on ETV Channel 10.