Friday , February 16, 2018 - 10:03 PM
PLAIN CITY — Brock Gilbert’s track record meant he had the ball in his hands for Syracuse, trailing 60-59 with 2.6 seconds left Friday at Fremont.
His track record of clutch game-winners and buzzer-beaters also meant that no one would’ve been surprised had his 50-foot heave at the buzzer went in.
It very nearly did, hitting right between the side of the rim and the backboard.
Agony: Gilbert crumpling to the floor with his head between his hands, the Titans’ playoff hopes now hanging by a finger.
Ecstasy: Cade Hadley running to the student section and embracing the first person he saw.
The Silver Wolves and their raucous fanbase celebrated wildly as Fremont (16-5, 9-3 Region 1) clinched the outright Region 1 championship on its home floor with a thrilling 60-59 win over Syracuse.
“It was exciting, so exciting. We have a special group here and our fans are awesome, they always come out and support no matter where we’re at,” Fremont senior Clint Anderson said.
Anderson scored 14 points, tied for his career high, for Fremont, which led 20-10 early in the second quarter. And he was all over the floor, too, diving for loose balls and making Syracuse work a little bit harder here and there.
Clint Anderson with a nice J. 16-7 Fremont pic.twitter.com/oRc9oTawCF— Patrick Carr (@patrickcarr_) February 17, 2018
Then the Titans did what they’ve done all year: turn potential big deficits into close games.
“They don’t quit, they’ve got outstanding character ... when they find their stride, they’re tough to stay with,” Syracuse head coach Troy Anderson said.
It started with Gilbert — who later scored 16 of his game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter — getting a steal and a runout followed by a 3-pointer on back-to-back possessions to force a Fremont timeout.
Kingston Williams’ 3-pointer tied the game at 22, but Fremont took a 29-27 lead into the locker room. The Silver Wolves led 44-37 heading into the fourth quarter when sophomore Dallin Hall (team-high 15 points) got off a buzzer-beater layup with 0.1 seconds on the clock.
The teams’ last matchup served as a backdrop for Friday. Syracuse won 61-60 at home when (who else?) Gilbert nailed a game-winner on a shot that Fremont thought should’ve been an offensive foul.
It wasn’t his first game-winner, having hit such a shot against Layton just three days after scoring 10 of the last 13 points for the Titans in a 66-63 win over Davis.
But after Gilbert’s buzzer-beater to beat Fremont, the Silver Wolves put away their earlier-season inconsistencies, going from a 3-3 start with alternating wins and losses to six straight wins and an outright Region 1 championship.
“The kids did a fantastic job of, you’re playing an opponent and you make some adjustments and the kids did that. They were fantastic, they were dialed in,” Fremont head coach Corey Melaney said.
Who else but Brock Gilbert? Syracuse and Fremont tied at 49 with 3:08 left now. pic.twitter.com/NBNDlXCa81— Patrick Carr (@patrickcarr_) February 17, 2018
While the Silver Wolves prep for a playoff game Feb. 27 at Weber State against Hillcrest, the Titans (10-12, 5-6 Region 1) are on the outside looking in for the No. 4 seed.
With Weber, Davis and Northridge at 6-5 in Region 1, Syracuse needs to beat Weber at home next Wednesday to force, as one coach termed it, a “mess.”
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