ST. GEORGE — Expectations are extremely high for Emery in this year’s 3A state tournament, and it backed them up in resounding fashion in the quarterfinals at Dixie State on Thursday night.
Emery shot 59 percent from the field and had four players score in double figures as it rolled past rival Carbon for the 70-44 victory.
“Right from tip off we came out with some intensity and played like we can. There were a few games this year where we came out sluggish and struggled,” said Emery coach Lynne Tuttle.
Megan Jensen led the way for Emery with 23 points on 10 of 14 shooting from the field. Kinlee Toomer added 13 points, Kacelyn Toomer chipped in with 11 and Lainee Jensen contributed 10 in the wire-to-wire win.
“I was real encouraged to see how the girls came out the first quarter. It’s a rival, it can go either way. They came out and were ready for it mentally and physically,” said Tuttle.
With the victory Emery advances to Friday’s semifinals at 5:50 p.m. against the Grantsville-South Sevier winner.
Emery expected Carbon to come out and play physical, hard-nosed defense, and that brand of basketball helped the Dinos keep it relatively close for two and a half quarters.
After falling behind by double digits early in the second quarter, the Dinos hit multiple 3-pointers — finishing with five in the first half — to whittle the deficit to 28-26.
The Spartans responded how you’d expected the top-ranked team to respond, with a 12-0 run to open up a 40-26 lead heading into the locker room.
“All the film I’ve watched on them, they didn’t shoot as well as they did tonight. We had to pull out of our zone and picked them up man and that’s what slowed them down,” said Tuttle.
Midway through the third quarter Carbon made another run cutting Emery’s lead to 46-39. The Spartans had a big response once again, and this time there was no bouncing back.
Emery finished the game on a 24-5 run as it shot 62 percent from the field in the second half while limiting Carbon to just 27 percent shooting in the half.