CASTLE DALE — Emery survived a tough Grand team Wednesday night, propelled by record-setting performances from a pair of Spartans to earn the region win 68-54.
Bailey Faimalo set a record for assists, dishing out 13 while stuffing the stat sheet with 10 points, six rebounds and six steals for Emery, and Gavin McDermott tied a Spartan center record by pulling down 18 rebounds to go along with 15 points. Dillon Wilstead also played well for the Spartans with a game-high 25 points.
“I’ve been chasing that record all year and it was good to get it in a region game, which meant a lot to me” said Faimalo. McDermott said, “I’ve just been really aggressive and really focusing on crashing the boards, and this has given me some easy baskets.”
Out of the gates, both teams hit the ground running, literally, as each team was able to get in transition for easy baskets and it was a back-and-forth game early. Emery held a small advantage at the end of the low-scoring first quarter, 11-9.
Poor shooting from the Red Devils propelled an Emery run, and the Spartans were able to go on a 12-4 run to increase their lead to eight midway through the second quarter. Emery closed out the half up 27-20 and seem primed to blow the game open.
However, Grand would not go away, and the Red Devils came out of the half shooting hot. After a half where they went 1-7 from deep, the Red Devils turned it on and were able to knock down their attempts from behind the line. At one point, they hit four triples in a row in the third quarter. Grand’s hot shooting led to a comeback for the Red Devils, and they stormed back and took a lead of 37-36. Emery switched into a press and was able to force turnovers and get easy baskets to retake the lead and end the third quarter up 45-42.
In an exciting fourth quarter, the Spartans went down low to their post players. Moving Faimalo to shooting guard and having junior Ridge Nielson run the point was a set that saw some success. Emery was able to finally pull away from the pesky Red Devils with a minute left in the game and cruised to the victory.
Emery will look to build on this win as it is now 3-2 in region play and 12-4 overall. “We’ve just been having more fun and playing loose. When we get out and run our fast break, we’re a much better team and we need to keep that up and focus on getting stops on defense,” McDermott said.
The Spartans will square off against San Juan at home on Friday in their next game. They already beat the Broncos in Blanding earlier in the season and will look to sweep the season series.