Girls basketball preview: A look at Region 1, how Roy stacks up in Region 2
Fremont High girls basketball is in the midst of one of the most dominant stretches by a girls basketball team in recent memory.
In the last four years, Fremont is 94-8 with two state championships, a state runner-up finish, and four straight unbeaten Region 1 titles encompassing 52 region games that the Silverwolves have won by an average of 31.3 points.
Seventy-seven of the 94 wins have been by double digits. The big question in Region 1 this year, again, is if anyone can beat Fremont.
The gap is slightly smaller between the Silverwolves and a couple teams that could beat them; however, it’s still going to take a team playing the best its ever played to knock off Fremont.
Here’s an alphabetical look at the teams in Region 1, with a look at where Roy fits into Region 2.
Senior guard Miranda Mansfield and junior guard Haylie Robbins are two returning starters from last year’s 2-20 team that got into the playoffs as the No. 24 seed.
Mansfield, a Salt Lake Community College softball signee, led the team with 14.2 points per game last year and already has games of 16 and 18 points this season.
“We have a lot of young players who will be playing varsity that have minimal varsity playing experience, but are willing to work hard and fill the role we need,” coach Demi Higgs said.
Between Dec. 21 and Jan. 14, the Falcons will play just five games and have a lot of time to fine-tune things in practice.
Davis went 16-5 last year, earned the No. 6 seed and was upset at home in the second round of the playoffs.
The Darts are one of two teams to have a Division-I basketball player on their team, that being senior Kylee Mabry, who signed with Utah Valley. Mabry averaged 13 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 5.5 steals per game last year.
Sophomore post Kendra Kitchen (8.2 ppg, 7 rpg) returns for Davis along with senior Taylor Leavitt (5.8 ppg). Davis tied for second in Region 1 last year and figures to have the potential to be a top-half team in the region again.
The Darts play six games — four on the road — from Dec. 7-21 before winter break.
The new addition to Region 1 is going to be a mostly new team.
Senior center Delaney Baker (14.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg), who signed with BYU for softball last month, is the only returning starter from last year’s 5A state runner-up team that finished with a 20-2 record.
Baker leads the team in scoring, rebounding and blocks through the first two games.
Also in those two games, senior Talin Stimpson has scored 29 points with 10 rebounds, and junior Maddie Hauck has 17 points with 12 rebounds.
Despite the relative inexperience, Farmington is expected to jump right into Region 1 and compete well.
Last season, Fremont went 26-0 in Utah, winning the 6A state championship by 20 points over Herriman and earning an invitation to the Geico Nationals Tournament in Florida where they fell to Westlake (Georgia) 64-54.
Fremont enters the 2021-22 season with a little more to figure out than the past couple years. In a way, the Silverwolves this year are kind of like UConn entering the 2017-18 season.
That was the year after Breanna Stewart left for the WNBA following a decorated career with the Huskies, but UConn in 2017-18 was still a loaded team as normal.
This year is the first for Fremont without four-year superstar Emma Calvert, who graduated and is now at BYU. Despite that and graduating two other multi-year starting guards in Halle Duft and Averee Porter, Fremont’s still the loaded as it has been the past few seasons.
The Silverwolves have the best frontcourt in the state, led by Oregon State signee Timea Gardiner and two-sport Nebraska signee Maggie Mendelson.
In 13 games before suffering a season-ending knee injury last season, Gardiner averaged 13.5 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game, shot 56% from the field and 88% from the free-throw line. Mendelson averaged 14.3 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game, while shooting 58% from the field for the full season.
Senior shooting guard Mia Austin (11.1 points per game, 41% 3-point shooting) is the only returner in the backcourt. Ashley Oliver takes over point guard duties.
Fremont has four games this year in Arizona in the prestigious Nike Tournament of Champions.
Layton has a handful of starters and contributors back from last season, led by junior Charly Stevens (8.7 ppg, team-high 4.4 rpg), senior Jayden Seegmiller (3.8 ppg), sophomore Lauryn Hall (4.1 ppg in 13 games) and senior Mallory Packard.
The Lancers were 8-11 last year, got the No. 13 seed in the playoffs, beat Weber and lost to No. 4 Lone Peak in the second round.
For the most part in 2021-22, the team is young and undersized, according to coach Rob Reisbeck.
The Titans return three starters from last year’s team that went 18-5 overall, took second in Region 1 and got to the state quarterfinals.
Those are forward Whitney Sorenson (9.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.9 apg, 2.1 spg), center Gracie Sorenson (7.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 47% FG) and guard Skylee Hopkins (7.8 ppg, 47% FG). Sophomore Avery Sanders is starting at point guard.
The region’s coaches mostly agree that Syracuse is probably the No. 2 or No. 3 team in Region 1.
The Titans came closest in the regular season to beating Fremont last year, losing by 17 and 20 points (no other region team got within 30 points).
The Warriors were 6-16 overall last season and return two main starters from that team: senior post Jazmyn Bennett (6.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and junior forward Katelynn Butler (5.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg).
Otherwise, head coach Clay Jackson said Weber’s going to have to grow up fast.
“We are a very young team in age and varsity play time, so that varsity experience is something they will have to gain throughout the season,” Jackson said.
Weber has two games per week for the rest of the season, save for the week of Christmas and the Warriors’ bye week in Region 1.
Roy High moved to Region 2 this year and, as far as girls basketball goes, the Royals jump into a pretty competitive region where last year’s champion had a 7-3 record, two teams tied at 6-4 and two more tied at 5-5.
Over the previous four seasons, Roy girls basketball is 3-2 against current Region 2 teams, so the Royals figure to be competitive.
What might suffer is Roy’s playoff seed. Though RHS finished tied for sixth in Region 1 last year, the Royals were a No. 19 seed, aided by a tough schedule that included Fremont, Syracuse and Davis.
Meanwhile, Kearns (Roy beat Kearns last year) was the No. 15 seed as the Region 2 champ.
The Royals had a few key seniors depart from last year but bring back plenty of experience from last year’s 8-14 team that upset Copper Hills in the first round of the playoffs — namely senior guards Sha’Kyra Joiner and Sha’Keria Joiner, and senior center Talitha Humble.
Head coach Carolyn DeHoff said sophomores Nicole Williams and Masie Scholer could have a big impact this year (Williams has 19 rebounds in two games).
Kearns returns all but one player from last year’s team and figures to be a favorite to repeat as region champs.
Hunter, which tied for second, returns four of its top six leading scorers. Cyprus returns probably the best player in the region, guard Karina Grayer (17.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg).