Boys basketball: Big 4th quarter sends Syracuse to road win at Fremont; Titans tie school record for season wins
PLAIN CITY — Much like Fremont and Syracuse’s first boys basketball meeting last month, offensive rhythm was hard to find for either team Tuesday night outside of a few key stretches.
All it took was for one team to have a somewhat hot hand late, take the lead and wait for time to run out.
Trailing 34-28 with 5:48 left in the game, Syracuse embarked on a 16-5 run and won 44-39 at first-place Fremont.
The game mostly resembled the two teams’ earlier meeting in January, which was tied 40-40 after regulation and which Fremont (14-7, 9-2 Region 1) eventually won 51-48 in double overtime.
Syracuse’s (14-6, 7-4) misses were mostly of the contested, and sometimes forced, variety while the Silverwolves missed several open 3-pointers that they’ve made plenty of times this season.
Senior Kaden Ericksen led all scorers with 14 points for Syracuse and shot 5 for 6 at the free-throw line. He made a turnaround jump shot at the first-half buzzer that sent Syracuse into halftime on a 9-0 run, but more importantly, down by only 24-20 after trailing 24-11 earlier.
“Going into halftime down double digits can hurt your spirits a bit, kill your morale, so I think it was good we were able to cut it to four points at half,” said Ericksen, who was sporting a cut under his bottom lip.
Fremont leaped to a 34-28 lead early in the fourth quarter after back-to-back drives by Boston Hadley.
Syracuse’s Brevin Hamblin hit a long two-pointer, Dax Brady and Kane King made layups and all of the sudden the game was tied.
Then Hamblin, a center who came into Tuesday’s game with a 2-for-4 mark from 3-point range, drained a 3 in front of the Syracuse bench to give the Titans a 37-36 lead. Hamblin ended up with 11 points and Brady scored 10.
“(Hamblin’s) always knocking down those shots in practice and we finally just were like, ‘You gotta take them.’ You know what I mean?” Syracuse coach Mike Russell said.
In the first half, Syracuse couldn’t keep hold of the ball and Fremont took advantage. The second half played out in opposite fashion; Fremont tried pressing toward the end of the game but the Titans held firm.
Brady blew up a dribble handoff and took it for a layup and a 39-36 lead then, to underscore exactly how cold of a shooting game Fremont had, senior guard Treyden Hoggan made his first 3 of the night with 2:17 left in the game after shooting 50% from downtown over the last five games.
David Calvert led Fremont with 13 points and Hadley scored 11. Hoggan had six points and Hunter Hansen was held to seven.
Leading 41-39 in the final 30 seconds and with the shot clock winding down, Ericksen drove left and banked in an off-balance floater to give the Titans a two-possession lead. Fremont went empty at the other end and the game went on ice.
“It was just taking care of the ball and running our offense, really. We had a lot of turnovers early, so we knew we had to take care of the ball,” Ericksen said.
Russell was happy his team found a way to win against a team that’s held the Titans to submarine scoring numbers twice this year.
“This has kind of, like, been our M.O. all year. We’ve been down in a lot of games, but our guys are just so tough and they never quit, they believe,” he said.
The Silverwolves have already won a share of the Region 1 title and have another chance Thursday to clinch an outright region title, but they must beat Davis to do so.
Also at play for both teams are the RPI rankings that seed the state tournament, which are currently hidden from public view until Saturday’s tournament bracket reveal.
Fremont was No. 6 at last check and Syracuse was No. 8. Tuesday’s win combined with other results elsewhere could spell a drop in the rankings for the Silverwolves and a lift for the Titans.
Another thing Syracuse has its eyes on is Thursday’s game at Layton where, if the Titans win, they’ll finish tied for second in Region 1. They’ve never finished higher than third place (2016) in a region.
Tuesday’s win was also Syracuse’s 14th of the season, which matches the school record for single-season wins (2013 and 2017).
This year’s team has two more chances to usurp that total and for that, the Titans are encroaching on uncharted territory.
Connect with reporter Patrick Carr via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter @patrickcarr_ and Instagram @standardexaminersports.