ETV News stock photo by Dusty Butler
After making it all the way to the championship game last year and falling just short of a state title, the Lady Spartans are hungry for redemption. Now that the season is here, Emery can begin its work to get back to the final game and bring home the championship.
There’s no doubt that there is a fire that has been burning inside of the team since its last game. “We’ve been waiting a long time for this,” said the returning players.
It will not be easy, and it is certainly not a sure thing, as new opportunities bring new adversity. “In my 15 years of coaching 3A, this is the most competitive as far as what teams are bringing back,” said head coach Lynn Tuttle.
The defending champion Trojans are returning all five of their starters. Judge Memorial bolsters a future Utah Ute, Teya Sidberry, while Grantsville is always competitive. That list does not even mention the extremely difficult Region 12 teams, which could house as many as three of the top five teams in the state.
The region is smaller than normal as South Sevier and San Juan both moved down to 2A in the latest realignment. Grand also decided to go independent, leaving only four teams in the region: Emery, Carbon, Richfield and newcomer Canyon View. The Lady Dinos were generally young last year and will be looking to make a leap under Cami Carlson. Richfield is also expecting to bring back the majority of its team while Canyon View is dropping from 4A and is expected to be competitive.
“Every game will be a battle. I don’t expect anyone to go undefeated in region this year.” Tuttle also believes that the teams could knock each other off, leading to a tie for the region championship. But, the top priority is to make a run in the state tournament.
Some problems are familiar as well, including starting center Tatum Tanner beginning the year with a knee injury. The Spartans hope to get her back for region games, if not sooner.
On the other hand, the Lady Spartans have a lot of talent and leadership coming back. Tambrie Tuttle, Baylee Jacobson, Addie Lester, Brynn Gordon and Daicee Ungerman are all coming back for their senior seasons. In addition, the athletic Madison Childs and Tylee Norton are returning to the hardwood to help boost the team. Childs will give Emery a second, true big and can “fill the void with Tatum gone,” added Tuttle.
With seven seniors and a couple key juniors, the Spartans have the numbers and experience to apply a lot of pressure. “I want to get back to playing up tempo and pressing all game. We have the legs to do it.” Tuttle added with a grin, “I want to make it ugly.”
“We can play with anyone,” concluded Tuttle. “It will all come down to who is playing the best and is healthy in February.”