PLAIN CITY — With the size and talent that Fremont girls basketball possesses in the post in the persons of Emma Calvert and Timea Gardiner, teams have a tendency to leave open shots outside as they double down on defense.
Syracuse had the Fremont bigs bottled up much of the first quarter Friday so coach Lisa Dalebout turned to a scrappy sophomore shooting guard to give the Silverwolves a spark.
Mia Austin came off the bench to fire up Fremont from far, far away and the Silverwolves swept the season series over Syracuse, this time 70-39, to capture at least a share of the Region 1 title.
Generously listed as 5-foot-8 in basketball height, Austin entered a tied game with 2:48 left in the first period and promptly buried a pair of 3s before the buzzer, then added a third early in the second stanza, as Fremont went up 22-13.
“I wanted to come out strong and score some points for us,” Austin said. “Don’t worry about it and just go out and be myself.”
Austin scored 15 points in the first half and Fremont (19-2 overall, 12-0 Region 1) led 35-20 at the break.
“We were executing plays really good, doing what we needed to do to get open shots. A lot of teams kind of crash the post so it leaves us open to get some shots up,” Austin added.
She flushed a fourth 3-pointer in the second half to finish the night with 18 points and Halle Duft dropped in 14 points, including a trio of treys.
“Like a lot of teams, the game plan is to take away their size; they’re so dominant down low,” Syracuse coach Braden Hamblin said. “We did a pretty good job of that, but when that team is knocking down 3-pointers, they’re hard to beat.”
Fremont went on an 11-3 run in the second quarter, then opened the third period 12-4 and growing the gap to 47-24, and coasted from there.
“Those runs were nice because we got some easy buckets and got the ball in the paint later on,” Dalebout said. “I think the girls did a good job being patient. There were a couple of moments when we got a little rushed but, overall, I thought they were consistent.”
Gardiner also notched double digits with 13 points, working the middle for most of it, but also netting one 3.
Rainee Schenck paced Syracuse (16-3, 10-2) with 12 points, including 4 of 4 from the free-throw line, while Baylee Sanders checked in with nine points.
“The conversation in the locker room afterwards was keep our heads high, that’s the best team in the state,” Hamblin said. “There is another level we have to reach. We have to continue to fight and battle to get there.”