We need to learn to take care of the ball in the fourth quarter and for me personally, I need to step up and be a leader. Free throws have been a problem all year and it finally came back to bite us. We need to toughen up and the best week of practice yet and bounce back. —Emery's Bailey Faimalo
MONROE — Dyson Heath only scored one basket in the region basketball game between Emery and South Sevier on Friday, but those two points proved to be the most important of the game.
Heath made a layup to put the Rams up one with 1.5 seconds left in the game, capping a 17-0 run by South Sevier to end the game. The Rams won 54-53 in the huge comeback win.
Gavin McDermott was the high point man for Emery with 18 points and also had a big performance on the boards with 15 rebounds. Bailey Faimalo continued to put up big assist numbers with 11 to go along with eight points.
The game started out close with both teams shooting the ball well. There were three ties and four lead changes just in the first quarter, and the game was all knotted up at 15 at the end of one.
The game remained tight in the second, and both teams battled with hard, physical play in a low-scoring affair. Emery held the lead entering halftime 24-22, largely thanks to its work on the boards. The Spartans outrebounded South Sevier 34-24 in the game.
In the third quarter, the physical battle led to the game getting chippy, and Emery’s Dillon Wilstead was given a technical foul. After the technical, Wilstead played with something to prove and scored five straight points to give the Spartans an 11-point lead. Wilstead finished the game with 11 points. Emery finished the third with a small lead, 38-29.
To start the fourth, Emery built an 18-point lead behind sharpshooting from behind the arc and seemed to break the game open. South Sevier then switched into a press that caused problems for the Spartans.
Turnovers and horrid free-throw shooting, 33 percent on the day, doomed Emery as the Rams made their huge 21-2 run to end the game. Despite multiple chances to seal the game at the stripe, Emery was unable to knock down a single free throw in the fourth, include three top ends of one-and-one opportunities.
McDermott missed two critical free throws with less than 10 seconds left in the game, and that gave South Sevier the chance it needed to get out on the break and for Heath to score his all-important layup. Faimalo missed a three-quarter court heave at the buzzer, and the Rams pulled off the comeback.
“We need to learn to take care of the ball in the fourth quarter and for me personally, I need to step up and be a leader,” said Faimalo. “Free throws have been a problem all year and it finally came back to bite us. We need to toughen up and the best week of practice yet and bounce back.”
“To bounce back, we need to just continue to work hard in practice and not get down on ourselves because we are still a really good team. And as always make our shots, especially our foul shots,” said McDermott.
Emery is now 2-1 in Region 15 play and 13-3 overall. The Spartans will play another away game next Friday, this time against Wasatch Academy.