By Hayden Johnson
Emery’s huge first half propelled it to a 66-54 region win over San Juan on Friday night.
Gavin McDermott set a career-high with 23 points while adding seven boards. McDermott had a huge first half with 19 points and seven rebounds before getting into foul trouble. Bailey Faimalo continued his consistent play, scoring 18 points, dishing out five assists and picking off four steals. Dillon Wilstead also scored in double figures with 11 to go along with seven assists.
Emery led 10-2 early after some exceptional play by Faimalo, who had the first two baskets of the game. Despite allowing two easy threes from San Juan’s DiQuan Lopez, Emery had a very strong first quarter and led 20-13.
Emery was able to get McDermott and Drexler Tanner some good looks in the second quarter and the Spartans crashed the boards on their way to a big lead at the half, 40-26.
“Our first half was great,” said Tanner, who had a game high 13 rebounds, to go along with six points. “I think a high intensity level in preparation helps. To just go out there and play hard from the get go. Since it was a home game, we wanted to show everyone how good we can be.”
Emery went on a run in the fourth and was able to close the game out. Free throw shooting, which has been a major problem for the Spartans, improved during the game, hitting 15 of 19 from the line. It enabled Emery to close out the game and cruise to a region win.
“We are playing hard but not shooting especially well,” explained coach Todd Jeffs. “We had some lapses in the second half but ironically our free throw shooting helped out.”
“We need to stay humble, just keep working hard and stay focused,” added Wilstead.
Todd Jeffs earned his 400 win as coach of Emery High with the victory. Jeffs is only 19 games shy of ninth place on the all-time list in Utah.
Emery’s next game will be against North Sevier on Wednesday.