The last time the defending 6A state champion Fremont Silverwolves lost a game, it was at the hands of Bingham in the 2020 6A title game.
Nearly two years and 27 Fremont victories later — one of which came against the Miners in last year’s 6A semifinals — the teams once again shared the court Thursday night at Bingham High School.
Thanks to an imposing third quarter that saw the Silverwolves outscore Bingham 27-3, Fremont defeated Bingham by a final score of 54-40 to improve to 2-0 on the season and extend the program’s win streak to 28.
Fremont’s 27 third quarter points were more than Bingham scored through the first three quarters combined (26).
Trailing by five points at the end of the first half, Fremont head coach Lisa Dalebout said her team came out of the halftime break anxious to erase the deficit.
“They came out really fired up,” Dalebout said. “Bingham did some really good stuff, but we just couldn’t make shots. The girls came out determined, stepped up and made big plays, especially in that third quarter.”
One of the players who clearly stepped up was senior Timea Gardiner, who scored 10 of her game-high 14 points in the third period.
Dalebout said that Gardiner — who missed last season’s championship run due to torn cartilage in her knee that required surgery — is starting to find herself once again out on the court.
“It’s hard to come off an injury and it’s almost like you want to make up for the missed time when you can’t,” Dalebout said. “She was pressing a little bit in our last game, and we’ve talked about that. … But (in that third quarter) she looked much more in control.”
Gardiner added nine rebounds and three assists to go along with her game-high point total. Senior Kennan James also had a strong night for the Silverwolves, finishing with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
“The girls came out determined, stepped up and made big plays, especially in that third quarter.” — Fremont head coach Lisa Dalebout
The game was physical and intense right from the beginning, as nine fouls were called in just the first six minutes of the game.
Fremont’s Maggie Mendelson picked up two of those nine fouls in the game’s opening three minutes, forcing her to take an early seat on the bench. Mendelson then picked up her third foul just two minutes into the second quarter.
Losing Mendelson’s to foul trouble for most of the first half left Fremont without her significant paint presence, both on the offensive and defensive sides.
Though Dalebout and the Silverwolves switched up their defensive sets often, they were at their best running a 2-3 zone, allowing Mendelson and her 6-foot-5 frame clog the paint.
Dalebout said the zone defense is a strong asset for them, especially facing teams like Bingham who will adjust effectively if given the same look the entire game.
“Historically I have never been a zone (defense) coach,” Dalebout said. “But when you get players like Maggie you just don’t want to drag her away from the rim. She’s long and she’s athletic and our guards do a good job scattering and covering three-point shooters. It’s a really nice weapon that we have.”
Both the zone and the man defense from Fremont made life hard for all of Bingham’s players, including Bingham’s top leading scorer, Sierra Lichtie, who still managed to score 13 points on the night.
With hard-earned wins against Bingham and Springville (defending 5A champion), Fremont’s gauntlet of a preseason schedule continues next week against defending 4A champion Sky View.
Dalebout said that her team wasn’t able to get much time to play together in the offseason and it has shown on the court, especially in their pace of play which has been too fast at times. Though pleased with the improvements made thus far, Dalebout said the tough schedule has and will continue to be an interesting test for the Silverwolves.
“It’s been good for us because Bingham expects to beat us and Springville expected to beat us,” Dalebout said. “I’m a little nervous about if we can work through (the schedule), but we’re excited. There won’t be any easy games.”