Emery sets prestigious tournament record

Nick Emery

BYU commit Nick Emery shined during the 31st annual Myrtle Beach Ball Classic basketball tournament that was held during the last week of December. NBA greats such as Kobe Bryant, Jason Kidd and Mike Bibby have all played in the Myrtle Beach Ball Classic, but it is Emery that holds the tournament's all-time scoring record.

Lone Peak High School star Nick Emery might have a few more seasons to finish before he signs his letter of intent to play at BYU, but that hasn't stopped him from shining on the national stage before he steps foot on campus.

"We went to South Carolina for the Myrtle Beach Ball Classic and did really well out there," said Emery. "We did really good. I mean, South Carolina, there are a lot of really good teams."

There were three teams ranked in the top 35 nationally by ESPN, with two teams that had recently dropped out of the top 25. Lone Peak High School ran their way through the tournament and made it to the championship game, where the team faced the Eagles of Milton High School from Georgia.

"It was a lot of fun to go out there and play against some really good competition," Emery said. "I mean, there were a lot of really good teams there with some really good players.

"We were kind of short this year because [fellow BYU commit] Eric [Mika] wasn't eligible to play, so our tallest guy that we had on the court was 6'4". We were playing against teams from Chicago that had guys that were 6'9" and 6'6". We played these big teams out there."

Without the much-needed size that the 6-foot-9-inch Mika would have provided in the low post, Lone Peak was at a disadvantage. Milton, which had beaten 17th ranked Bishop Gorman earlier, played an aggressive man-to-man defense that forced 18 Lone Peak turnovers, which Milton was able to convert into 24 points. Lone Peak lost in the championship game 70-42.

Nevertheless, it was a positive experience for Lone Peak.

"The Myrtle Beach Ball Classic is one of the top tournaments in the nation," said Emery. "We gained a lot of good experience as a team, and not only that, but as individual players."

Emery said he and his teammates gained some valuable experience.

"I think the experience really gave us a lot of confidence," said Emery. "I think by us going all the way out there and playing some of those really good teams out there in South Carolina, [it] helped us to know that we could play with some of the best teams around.

"We didn't have the size that some of the other teams had, but we were really physical and I think that physical competition helped us to get better. It was a lot of fun to go out there and play."

Prior to the championship game, Milton played four games in five nights while the Knights of Lone Peak played a more grueling schedule of four games in four nights. In the semifinals, Lone Peak went into double overtime against Whitney Young High School.

In the end, Emery accomplished something never done before in the 31-year history of the Myrtle Beach Ball Classic by scoring 119 points in the tournament.

That set a new tournament scoring record, beating Mike Bibby's record of 118 points in 1995 by merely one point.

"Yeah, it was a great experience," said Emery. "We were able to do a lot of great things there but just came up short of winning the championship game. Like I said, I think it really gave us a boost of confidence knowing we could play with some of the best around."

After the Myrtle Beach Classic tournament, Nick Emery and his Lone Peak teammates made their way to Milwaukee for the Brandon Jennings Milwaukee Invitational. There, they played a Lincoln High School team ranked in the top 25 nationally and won 90-63.

"It was just a one-day deal and we played a team from New York. It was a lot of fun because we got to face different teams from different parts of the country that have different styles of play. It just helps us become familiar with different styles of play. Back East, they get up and down the court more and play more physical. I mean, it just gets us better."

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