Spartans ground Eagles to advance to second round

Towards the end of the first quarter of Monday’s 1A-8 First Round Tournament Game following a timeout from Eagle head coach Larry Gray, Senior Spartan Cash Emgarten sprinted up court and went for a slam dunk that led to a 77-36 win punching their ticket to the second round of the playoffs.

“It felt good getting a big win right off the bat,” Emgarten said. “We hope we can use this as momentum to get into the next few rounds, and hopefully get some more wins.”

The game started off with both teams exchanging shots starting with the first basket of the game coming from Junior Spartan Josh Nelson. Following a 3-pointer from Junior Eagle Josiah Gray, the Spartans offense came alive going on a 22-0 run before Junior Eagle Brady Dingus put a stop to their run with a mid-range jump shot.

“We came out flat, and we knew that, so we just had to pick it up,” Emgarten added. “We knew what we could do, and we showed it.”

Senior Spartans Jaiden Pettepier scored approaching the midway point of the second quarter forcing another timeout from Gray. Following the timeout, the Spartans offense continued to be aggressive going on a 16-3 run to close out the half with multiple Spartans contributing to the offense including Seniors Jackson Radcliff, Aiden Flathers, Jameson Kilworth.

“I’ve told them all year whenever you get the ball, the first option is to look to score,” said Spartan Head Coach Tony Santisteban. “If you’re not aggressive that way, you’re kind of sitting back on your heels. Be aggressive, take the ball to the hole, get the defense to collapse, and make better reads.”

Pettepier opened the third quarter with his second basket of the game, followed by a shot at the basket from Radcliff, and another dunk from Emgarten going on a 6-0 run. The Eagles put a temporary stop to the Spartans run with a shot from Gray. Gray added a few more buckets towards the end of the third quarter via free throws, but the Spartans still had a dominant 65-26 lead heading into the final quarter.

The fourth quarter opened with back-to-back shots from Junior Spartans Jonas LaCanne and Nelson, but the Eagles answered back with four points, which was capped off with free throws from Dingus.

Emgarten added another dunk later in the quarter and the final shot came from Kilworth as the Spartans cruised to victory.

The Spartans will be back at home Thursday night at 7 p.m. for the 1A-8 Second Round Tournament Game taking on the 13-9 Riverside Bulldogs, who won their first round tournament game 61-44 against St. Albert. The Bulldogs are led by Grady Jeppesen, averaging 25.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game.

“We’re going to get a game plan ready, and see what’s going to be best for us to go against them, and we’ll see how it goes on Thursday,” Santisteban said.



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