Friday , February 23, 2018 - 8:48 PM
TAYLORSVILLE — Karlie Valdez almost did it again, with practically the same amount of time on the clock and in the same situation as Fremont’s quarterfinal win over Riverton.
Westlake tied the teams’ 6A semifinal with a corner 3-pointer by Ashley Parry to make the score 44-44 and the Silver Wolves had the ball with 9.3 seconds left.
It seemed they had everything in their favor until they turned the ball over, fouled Samantha Hester and she went to the free throw line for a one-and-one.
Fremont’s season hung precariously and the overwhelmingly pro-Westlake crowd was getting ready to celebrate.
Fremont did it again. 54-50, plays at 1 tomorrow pic.twitter.com/lp5WUdlY20— Patrick Carr (@patrickcarr_) February 24, 2018
Hester missed, Valdez got the ball and sprinted down the court, putting up a running shot with a second left that glanced off the rim and sent the game to overtime.
“I knew that one wasn’t going in, that one felt off,” Valdez said.
But in overtime, Valdez hit all four of her free throws down the stretch as the Silver Wolves (22-2) did it again, squeaking out a 54-50 overtime win against the Thunder (17-8) in the 6A semifinals to advance to Saturday’s 1 p.m. championship game against Bingham (20-6).
It was the second-straight close game they’ve won amid the several close games they won in the regular season. Back-to-back close wins to get to the championship game, however, has Fremont very excited.
“I don’t even know what you can call it, I don’t know, if we keep working hard then we can do whatever we want,” Valdez said.
Here's the 3 that tied it. pic.twitter.com/vgDT4Y92dr— Patrick Carr (@patrickcarr_) February 24, 2018
There was no slow start by the Silver Wolves Friday like the quarterfinal against Riverton. Instead, they led 10-3 early, leaning on freshman post Emma Calvert, who scored a game-high 17 points with 10 rebounds.
The quick start gave way to a sloppy performance by both schools in the second quarter and Fremont was fortunate not to trail at halftime.
Westlake patiently worked the ball around Fremont’s defense on possessions, but couldn’t knock down open shots and the Silver Wolves committed turnovers in non-pressure situations.
Fremont led 20-18 at the break, but Westlake made short work of the lead in the second half and was about to take a double-digit lead — except when the dice came out of the cup, they landed on seven: Fremont’s magic number.
It was 33-26 when Valdez hit a running bank shot similar to her game-winner the previous night.
Then it was Abby Broadbent’s turn. After one of the worst games of her career Thursday (0 of 7 from the field, zero points), she hit a layup and a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions to tie the game at 33.
“I can’t even explain, honestly that game I can’t even remember it, I was just so focused on this game,” Broadbent said. “We always come back, we’re a fighting team, we fight.”
Sophomore Haylee Doxey scored eight of her 16 points in the third quarter as part of a 7-of-9 day from the field with nine rebounds.
Early in the quarter, she made three straight baskets that helped Fremont keep within touching distance of Westlake, which started to heat up from 3-point range. Her fourth was a put-back that put the Silver Wolves ahead 35-33 going into the fourth quarter.
“I loved her attitude at the end of the game when things kind of went out of our way, she was uplifting to her teammates ... she did a great job,” head coach Lisa Dalebout said.
That led to a very tense fourth quarter, like the ones both teams played in to emerge from their quarterfinals. Fremont started to get frustrated as it led Westlake most of the way, but couldn’t close the door.
Valdez’s runner at the buzzer was from the same side as her game-winner against Riverton the night before. It was unplanned, Dalebout said, though she thought Valdez had done it again.
Calvert scored the first bucket of overtime, Doxey scored another bucket and Westlake had to play from two possessions behind the rest of overtime. There was still the matter of free throws: Mazzie Melaney and Valdez went 6 of 6 from the line in overtime.
“I wasn’t really thinking too much about it, I just knew that I had to put them in and then I had to take deep breath and not overthink it,” Valdez said. “A few I thought were going to be short, but you just gotta use your legs.”
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