OREM — When Emery's Dillon Wilstead is on his game, the Spartans usually thrive. When he isn't, it's largely a different story.
Fortunately, for Emery, the senior guard was on his game Friday, leading his team to a convincing 56-42 win over Delta in the first round of the 2A basketball playoffs.
Wilstead did his work from the perimenter, driving to the basket and pretty much from everywhere on the court, finishing with a game-high 22 points.
"He does a lot of things for us and we put a lot on his shoulders," said Emery coach Todd Jeffs. "We ride him, and when he's good, we're really good and when he's bad, well, we're not so good. He's a tough kid, and he's been doing it for three years now."
Wilstead was remarkably absent from the scoring column during the first quarter, but picked up his game considerably in the second quarter to help give his team a 31-21 lead entering the half.
After the half, the Spartans went on an early 11-0 run that pushed their lead to 42-24 midway through the third quarter.
"We were making shots that we weren't making all that well early on," Jeffs said of his team's play in the second half. "But rebounding was also a big thing for us. Delta is a good rebounding team, they really attack the glass, but I think we more than held our own there."
Key players in Emery's second-half surge included Wilstead, but also players like 6-foot-5 sophomore Koby Butler, who saw increased minutes off the bench.
"I really liked how Koby was doing on offense, so we played him a lot in the second half for that reason," Jeffs said of Butler, who finished with 16 points. "We lose a little bit on defense when he's in there, but when he's got it going offensively, it's good to just leave him in there, and he was certainly good today."
Delta was led by Daycen Fowles and his team-high 12 points.
With the win, Emery advances to the second round where it will take on Summit Academy next Thursday at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield.
For Jeffs, he hopes his team can continue to improve and make a deep run past Summit and far into the tournament.
"We often hurt ourselves being careless with the ball, but I think we improved on that today, and hopefully that continues," he said. "Fortunately when we're making mistakes, we're making aggressive mistakes. I like how competitive our guys are, and I hope that continues."