Run, run, run, that’s what we like doing. —Emery coach Lynne Tuttle
ST. GEORGE — After watching Richfield prevail in the first 3A semifinal on Friday, as expected Emery followed suit in impressive fashion to set up the grudge match showdown between the region rivals in Saturday’s championship.
Kacelyn Toomer scored 17 points and Megan Jensen added 12 to lead Emery to the 56-36 victory over Grantsville, booking its place in the 5 p.m. championship game at Dixie State.
“I’m pumped. They’re an awesome team, and we’ve been expecting this ever since the first time we played them,” said Jensen.
Richfield and Emery split the season series, both winning at home. Both teams lost in their respective championship games last year, with Emery losing in the 2A championship.
“Waited a long time, we’re there now, want to erase what happened to us last year. Hard fought battle tonight for sure, they’re very physical, big and strong, probably a good game for us going into tomorrow night,” said Emery coach Lynne Tuttle.
Emery never trailed after building a 10-9 lead on Grantsville midway through the first quarter in an impressive display at both ends of the court. It used an 11-0 run to close the first quarter for a 19-9 lead and then maintained the cushion until halftime, leading 29-21.
In the third quarter Emery’s defensive pressure helped stretch the lead to double digits, and it never dipped below that the rest of the game.
Tuttle said the key to pulling ahead was getting out and running, a style that he was surprised Grantsville was willing to play.
“Run, run, run, that’s what we like doing,” said Tuttle.
Toomer was the catalyst to the up-tempo offense after a slow start.
“She started settling for 3s and we told her don’t settle for 3s, to take it to the hole. She’s good at penetration and finishing at the rim. You get a girl doing that and they get other girls involved,” said Tuttle.
Kinlee Toomer helped push the pace with four assists to go along with her seven rebounds.
Jensen finished with nine rebounds, as Emery outrebounded Grantsville 34-26.