BLANDING — Emery made the long trip to San Juan Friday to square off against the Broncos in its first region basketball game of the season. The Spartans were able to continue their dominance, winning 86-68.
It was a career night for Emery point guard Bailey Faimalo, who racked up a career-high 31 points to go along with five 3-pointers and 11 assists. Faimalo scored or assisted on at least 53 of the Spartan’s 86 points.
“Things for me were just clicking. It’s good to be in rhythm on a road game and even better on a region game. In short, I was feeling it,” Faimalo said.
It was also a big night for Emery forward Gavin McDermott, who pulled down eight rebounds in the first quarter on his way to a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds on the night.
Emery came out attacking the glass, and its penchant for fast starts continued as it controlled the rebounding battle by far in the first quarter and throughout the game. This aggressiveness and good work on the defensive end allowed the Spartans to get out to a 15-6 lead at the end of the first.
Three-point shooting and transition offense that got Emery’s scorers open layups and free throws made for a big second quarter for Emery despite both of Emery’s guards, Dillon Wilstead and Faimalo, getting into foul trouble early. The Spartans lead 40-31 at the half.
The Spartans came out strong in the third quarter with a 17-8 run to start the half that included multiple 3s from Faimalo and Wilstead. This run led to a huge 31-point quarter from Emery, capped off by a Faimalo buzzer-beater 3-pointer to end the third.
Emery was able to ride its strong performance to cruise to a victory to end the game. Spartan juniors Ridge Nielson, Beau Roundy, Tai Justice and Kevin Butler all continued to show promise as they closed out the game for the win.
“It was good to get off to a good start in region play," Emery head coach Todd Jeffs said. "San Juan is always a tough place to play so I feel really good about getting a win there. We turned the ball over a lot in the game. We have been pretty solid with the ball so far this year, so that is something we need to address, and poor free-throw shooting is still a concern.”
The Spartans will look to ride their current string of wins in a home game next Wednesday against the North Sevier Wolves.