clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Fremont earns chance to repeat as 5A champions with thrilling win over American Fork in semifinals

Fremont’s charismatic head coach Lisa Dalebout couldn’t contain her excitement.

One of her players wanted a bottle of chocolate milk.

That’s what happens when you get a chance to repeat as state champions.

In a thriller that was close most of the way, Fremont came out on top 38-37 against American Fork Friday in the 5A girls state semifinals at Salt Lake Community College.

“I was just happy,” Dalebout said. “I think relief is probably the better word for it … at this point in the season you’re just happy to survive and advance, especially against teams that are dang good.”

Survive is an apt word to describe how the Silver Wolves came away with the win.

Up by one with 7.6 seconds remaining, Fremont allowed American Fork’s Jenna Shepherd into the lane for a shot at the rim, but the Silver Wolves challenged it and it didn’t meet net.

Dalebout said she didn’t know what play the Cavemen would try to run, but just implored her team to not foul.

They didn’t, and now Fremont will get to play Saturday for its second consecutive title. It beat American Fork in the 2014 championship game.

“State’s just so fun and so intense and so it’s good to keep going,” said senior Shelbee Molen. “You get to play another game with your teammates. That’s the best you could ever ask for.”

Though the Silver Wolves won, it seemed early in the fourth that they wouldn’t need late-game drama to do it.

With the game tied at 23 with a minute left in the third quarter, Fremont’s offense suddenly came alive as the Silver Wolves went on an 11-0 run spanning the end of the third and the first two minutes of the fourth.

They led 34-23, and it appeared they were well on their way to the win.

“I thought we had some of our players step up and make some big shots,” Dalebout said. “It made everybody relax, and when those things happen, your shots start to fall. We went on a little run and that gave us some momentum that kind of carried us to the end of the game.”

The Cavemen didn’t go away, however.

Over the next two minutes, American Fork went on a 9-0 spurt of its own to cut the lead to two, 34-32.

“It was just intense,” said junior guard Harley Hansen. “They went on their little run there and we just knew we had to come back and play together as a team.”

After a Cavemen turnover, Melanie Graves made a jumper to extend the Fremont lead to 36-32 with 1:40 to play. Shepherd responded with a bucket, and Molen came back to sink two free throws for the Silver Wolves to make it 38-34.

Taylor Moeaki converted an American Fork 3-point play the old-fashioned way. The Cavemen then got a rebound on a Molen missed free throw to set up the final attempt at victory.

Hansen and Rylee Thompson led Fremont with 11 points apiece. Molen added 10.

Fremont will play the winner of the other 5A semifinal featuring Riverton and Brighton. The title game is set to tip off at 1 p.m.

“I think it’s really important at this point to just keep everything like you do every single game,” Dalebout said. “Obviously in the championship game there’s more on the line, but I feel like when you get to this point, it’s really neat. You’ve had some really great experiences, now you just get to play your hardest.”

Molen had similar sentiments.

“It’s just really awesome that we get this opportunity again,” she said. “I’m just gonna try to enjoy it and play my very hardest.”

Ryan McDonald is a part-time reporter at the Deseret News. Follow him on Twitter @ryanwmcdonald.