Having mustered just 27 points through three quarters, the Emery Spartans mounted a historic comeback Friday night against San Juan in both teams’ Region 15 opener. The Spartans exploded for 34 points in the fourth, winning the nailbiter 61-59.
Emery’s first lead would come with just 23 seconds left in the game when Tyson Roper sprinted the length of the floor for a left-handed layup to make it 61-59. San Juan’s DiQuan Lopez missed short on a three-point attempt in the final seconds of the game.
Both teams started the game off slow, but back-to-back three pointers by Lopez in the final minute of the first quarter helped the Broncos take a 16-8 lead. Another quiet second found both teams struggle until San Juan hit two three pointers with under a minute to go to extend its lead at halftime, 29-20. With the 6-0 run to end the half and with another 7-0 run to begin the third quarter, the Spartans found themselves in a 36-20 hole.
That’s when Emery head coach Todd Jeffs went to his bench and brought in sophomores Bowdie Jacobson, Koby and Kolton Butler, and Zac Jorgensen. By the end of the third, the Spartans had chipped away at the lead and trailed 38-27.
Just a minute and a half into the fourth, the Broncos, though, would extend their lead to 45-30, but the Spartans would outscore their opponents 31-14 the rest of the way.
Koby Butler was the workhorse for Emery on the night, pouring in a career-high 20 points. His twin brother Kolton scored eight fourth-quarter points, all of which came from the free-throw line. Jacobson hit two clutch threes in the fourth during Emery’s monster comeback and Ridge Nielson scored a career-best 14 in the game, including four three pointers.
Emery’s 37-point fourth quarter was the largest offensive output in any quarter all season.
The team shot a combined 19-22 from the line on the night.
Emery (8-5, 1-0 Region 15) will host Region 15 undefeated North Sevier (8-7, 2-0 Region 15) on Wednesday. The game will be streamed live on etv10news.com/livesports.
Watch highlights of the game below:
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