SALT LAKE CITY — Fremont and Bingham are creating a nice little annual rivalry in Utah high school girls basketball.
In 2018, the Silverwolves bested the Miners in the 6A state championship game. Bingham got Fremont back in last year’s semifinals.
Fremont pasted Bingham 71-44 earlier in this campaign, but that was second game of the season.
Bingham believed it had a ton of room for improvement and, once again, played spoiler to the Silverwolves two months later.
This time it was more painful for Fremont.
The Silverwolves went home from the Huntsman Center on Saturday night, tears in their eyes, after falling 59-51 to the Miners in the 6A state championship game.
Fremont got 19 points from Timea Gardiner and 17 from Emma Calvert, who added seven rebounds, but Bingham caught fire in the second half — the Miners went 11 of 17 from the field after halftime — and rode the wave to the trophy.
“We’re sad. I just told them I was really sorry and I was sad that it turned out that way,” Fremont head coach Lisa Dalebout said.
The final result wasn’t what a lot of fans expected. Fremont (24-3) hadn’t lost a game to a Utah team all year and was arguably the best team in the state the entire season.
But Dalebout lamented her team’s inability to adjust to Bingham going 20 of 37 from the field and a searing 9 of 14 from 3-point range.
Lately, the Miners hadn’t been that effective from downtown, but saved a hot shooting performance for the best possible time.
Sierra Lichtie led the Miners’ scoring with 18 points including a 4-for-4 mark from 3-point range. Samantha Holman had 16 points (4 of 5 from deep) and Jaycee Lichtie scored 15.
“We were confident. We knew the shots were going to fall, we knew the team was there for each other,” Jaycee Lichtie said.
Elizabeth Allen knocked down a corner 3-pointer that gave Fremont a 43-40 lead in the fourth quarter. Gardiner hit a pair of free throws to make it 45-42.
Then came Bingham’s run that put the Silverwolves behind for good.
Jaycee Lichtie scored, Fremont immediately turned it over and Bingham’s next possession ended in a Sierra Lichtie 3-pointer.
Fremont missed at the other end, Holman hit a corner 3, held up her first and the Miners’ crowd took over the game.
Fremont point guard Halle Duft tweaked her right knee late in Friday’s semifinal game and played Saturday’s final with it heavily taped and with a large knee brace. She aggravated the injury in the first quarter and went to the bench.
“We had a hard time adjusting to not having our point guard on the floor. That was difficult for us, they came out and they bodied up one of our posts. It was just, I mean, it was just a hard game,” said Dalebout, who added that she wasn’t sure if Duft was even playing at 50%.
Gardiner had things under control at first. She cooly buried a 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter to give Fremont a 14-12 lead.
Gardiner went from cool to warm to searing hot in a matter of seconds. She hit a 3 at the start of the second quarter and then another to make it three in a row. Fremont led by as much as 10 in the second quarter when Gardiner was at the height of her shooting streak.
Seventeen of her points came in the first half. Bingham focused its defense on her in the second half and held her to two points after halftime.
Duft tweaked her knee again in the third quarter and, for her, that was it for the rest of the game. In 14 minutes, she still had five assists with no turnovers, but Dalebout said the team missed Duft’s leadership presence on the floor.
The Silverwolves also missed her as the primary ball handler. They had five turnovers in the first half and nine in the second.
Calvert scored 12 of her 17 points in the second half and added seven rebounds total. She shot 8 of 11 from the field.