Saturday , February 24, 2018 - 2:54 PM
TAYLORSVILLE — Fremont and Bingham’s recent history in girls basketball has been reserved exclusively for the state tournament.
In 2014, when Fremont won its most recent state championship, the Silver Wolves beat the Miners 54-41 in the 5A quarterfinals.
In 2007, Bingham beat Fremont 61-35 in the 5A semifinals and won the state championship, the Miners’ most recent title.
Those were the two schools’ most recent clashes on the hardwood until they met Saturday in the 6A girls championship game after gutting out close semifinal wins the night before.
It was the rubber match: region champion versus region champion. When the dust cleared, it was Fremont who raised the trophy.
The Silver Wolves (23-2) completed an extraordinary season by beating Bingham 61-47 in the 6A title game Saturday afternoon at Salt Lake Community College.
“It’s unbelievable I can’t even explain it, it’s the best feeling and I’ll never forget this moment ever, it’s amazing,” senior guard Abby Broadbent said.
The Silver Wolves tout plenty of experience, yet it says something that in their time of need in a state championship game, they went to a freshman.
Emma Calvert, Fremont’s talented freshman post, delivered a player-of-the-game type of performance with 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, 10 rebounds and four blocks as the Silver Wolves went to her when they needed a basket.
Leading 47-45 late in the fourth quarter after a couple shaky possessions, they drew up a play for Calvert off an inbound and she scored. When it was 49-47, Calvert scored again.
An indication of how the game could go came from the Miners’ close win over Copper Hills in the semifinals Friday. Fremont lost to Copper Hills in the first game of the year (granted, much has changed since November), a game that validated how good the Silver Wolves were to Calvert and head coach Lisa Dalebout.
Fremont High: 6A girls basketball champions, 61-47 over Bingham. pic.twitter.com/VJJMpMXRE4— Patrick Carr (@patrickcarr_) February 24, 2018
The big takeaway was that Saturday’s title game would be extremely close, and it was. Neither team led by more than three points for most of the first half as they traded 3-pointers, jump shots, missed shots and turnovers.
Bingham got into foul trouble and starting guard Maggie McCord and starting forward Journey Tupea both went to the bench with three fouls in the first half.
Karlie Valdez hit two free throws for a 25-20 lead after McCord got her third, and the Silver Wolves led 27-23 at halftime.
Free throws were a strength for the Silver Wolves the entire tournament. They went 19 of 25 against Bingham after going 18 of 24 and 12 of 15 in the semifinals and quarterfinals, respectively.
Finishing has been one of the hallmarks of the team all year, and success at the foul line in the tournament was a big reason the Silver Wolves won.
“(The state championship) was our goal, that was our end goal and I can’t believe we got it, I’m just so happy. I think we’re all happy that we got it,” Calvert said.
The Miners came back quickly in the second half, taking a 31-28 lead a couple minutes into the third quarter. Valdez got an and-one on a fastbreak after stealing the ball as Fremont took the lead back for good, 36-33.
Then the Silver Wolves went, again, to Calvert on back-to-back possessions to take a 40-35 lead.
Each time Fremont seemed poised to bump its lead from close to solid, Bingham came back. After Halle Duft’s 3-pointer made it 47-41, the Miners hit four free throws in a row.
Yet there was Calvert: on the fastbreak, set plays, over the top passes in the post — and Fremont survived the nerves.
“You know when you have really special players that, when you’re in a game or even practice, when they do things you’re kind of like, ‘Whoa, that was for real,’” Dalebout said of Calvert.
The breaking point was a 3-pointer by Broadbent — who scored 13 points with six rebounds — on a fastbreak that pushed the lead to 54-47 and forced Bingham’s desperation to mount with 2:31 left in the game.
Adios net pic.twitter.com/Tg3wM7HkMf— Patrick Carr (@patrickcarr_) February 24, 2018
It was sweet relief for the senior guard, who went through a shooting slump the past two games. As she jogged down the court, her face said one thing: focus.
Her mind said another.
“I was just like, ‘We’re gonna win this,’” Broadbent said.
It was part of a 12-0 run Fremont used to finish the game and wrap up the team’s 20th straight win.
There are many things to be said about this team: they’re young, experienced, talented, cerebral and don’t panic.
They also know how to finish.
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