SALT LAKE CITY — Averee Porter lofted a floater from the left side and it dropped in the hoop, rolled a couple times, nearly rolled out, then rolled around the rim again before falling through.
Fremont girls basketball head coach Lisa Dalebout pumped her fist. Herriman called timeout with 3:29 left in a 27-point game.
This one was over.
Wednesday night’s 61-32 final in the 6A quarterfinals will indicate another smothering defensive performance by the Silverwolves’ state-best scoring defense, a game in which they held the Mustangs to 16.9% shooting overall (10 of 59), a 4-of-34 mark from 3-point range and a point total 23.5 below Herriman’s season average.
Fremont outscored Herriman 8-0 in the third quarter and the Mustangs shot 0 of 16 from the field, including 0 of 12 from 3-point range, in that frame to increase the space in the scoring margin.
“I think we used our length and our guards did a really good job hustling and trying to cover all of their 3-point shooters, because they have a ton of them. They all shoot, they do a really good job,” Dalebout said.
As much as the final margin indicates a one-sided game, it was a frustrating night for Fremont offensively despite what a 23-of-44 shooting night would imply.
The reason for the frustration was 22 turnovers, many coming from Herriman’s pressure and from Fremont adjusting to playing in a different venue — University of Utah’s Jon M. Huntsman Center — than years past.
The Mustangs never took serious advantage of the turnovers after halftime and, points-wise, most of the Silverwolves’ damage on offense came in the second half.
“I feel like they just executed a lot better (in the second half), I thought they got the ball into the post a little bit better and they ran the floor and handled the pressure a little more,” Dalebout said.
Fremont led 19-17 late in the second quarter before Averee Porter and Timea Gardiner made consecutive 3-pointers to put Fremont up by eight at halftime.
Herriman helped Fremont’s cause, though, by shooting 2 of 16 from 3-point range in the first half despite creating several open looks.
The Mustangs still found too many open shots and offensive rebounds for the Silverwolves’ liking. Some halftime adjustments remedied the problems, Dalebout said, particularly on the rebounding side of things where Fremont finished with a 49-30 edge.
Gardiner played just five first-half minutes after picking up two early fouls. She made two inside baskets early in the third quarter as Fremont pushed its lead to 31-17, and finished with 12 points and six rebounds.
Freshman Maggie Mendelson, who first subbed in for Gardiner in the first quarter, scored 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting with 11 boards and was probably the most unstoppable player on the floor.
“I think that we were really scrappy today, we didn’t get down on ourselves when they scored,” Mendelson said. “Sometimes if they score, then we get frustrated but with today, I feel like we did a really good job at keeping ourselves motivated and keeping going,”
Emma Calvert, who had three of Fremont’s first four baskets in the first quarter, ended with 11 points and 11 rebounds on a perfect shooting night: 4 of 4 from the field and 3 of 3 from the free-throw line.
Fremont will meet Skyridge in Friday’s semifinal at 3 p.m. and aim for a return to the state title game.
The Silverwolves coaches and players watched the Falcons beat Syracuse in the earlier quarterfinal and saw Skyridge’s quick guard play and array of pressure defenses.
“They’re going to be really tough. They do the same thing, they can penetrate into the gaps and they can shoot the ball. They have very talented players, hopefully we’ll be up to the challenge,” Dalebout said.
Fremont and Skyridge have never met in girls basketball.