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High school girls basketball: Fremont cruises past Bingham in the 6A semifinals to keep undefeated title hopes alive

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Bingham and Fremont compete in the 6A girls basketball state semifinals at Salt Lake Community College in Salt Lake City on Thursday, March 4, 2021.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Fremont’s last loss came just over a year ago when it fell in the 6A state championship to the Bingham Miners. Now, 369 days later, the two teams shared the court once again, this time to determine who would be given the chance to play in this year’s title game.

Fremont’s frontcourt duo of Emma Calvert and Maggie Mendelson scored 21 and 13 points, respectively, and combined for six blocks to help Fremont avenge last year’s tournament loss by a score of 61-52.

This will be the third time in four years that Fremont will make an appearance in the state title game.

Fremont set the tone early with a dominant first quarter. The Silverwolves shot 66% from the field, including 75% from the 3-point line, all while limiting Bingham to 28% shooting from the field.

Lisa Dalebout, Fremont’s head coach, said that the fast start was crucial to her team’s success in the game.

“I think we really needed a good start tonight,” said Dalebout. “Bingham has always been in our path in the state tournament. They have an amazing program. They’re well-coached, so we knew we had to come in really sharp from the get go.”

Calvert shared the same sentiment as her coach.

“We came out swinging; we came out really hard and really ready for anything,” she said. “I don’t think they knew what hit them. Right at the start we came out and gave it everything.”

While Fremont was effective shooting the ball throughout the first half, they were lackadaisical with it and committed nine first-half turnovers, which allowed Bingham to hang around despite its struggles.

Fremont, however, took better care of the ball in the second half and only committed one turnover the remainder of the game. Fremont’s backcourt play of Mia Austin and Halle Duft, who played a big role in the turnover reduction, were arguably just as valuable as the Calvert and Mendelson-led frontcourt.

Duft and Austin combined for 18 points, 15 assists, nine rebounds and four steals.

The second half was mostly a back-and-forth ordeal, but Fremont maintained a fairly comfortable lead. Calvert nailed a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer from the right wing with two minutes left to tie Fremont’s largest lead of the game at 18. The Miners made a run late, but Fremont’s lead was too big of an obstacle.

With its ticket punched into the state title game, this year’s Fremont squad is beginning to give off very similar vibes as the program’s 2018 state championship winning team. Dalebout said senior leadership is the biggest attribute the two teams share.

“It’s amazing when you have a senior group (like this), how much more mature, resolute and spirited they play. They understand how difficult this whole process is. They’re just very mature,” said Dalebout

Set to face No. 1 seed Herriman in the title game on Saturday, Dalebout heaped tons of praise on what will be her team’s final opponent of the season.

“They’re incredibly good,“ said Dalebout. “They’re a handful and we’re going to have to play a really good basketball game. Every game you play in this state tournament is going to be a battle.”

Although the championship matchup feels more like a 1A versus 1B, Dalebout said her team will be treating the game like an underdog would.

Calvert affirmed that idea.

“We are the underdog in this,” she said. “We’re the No. 2 ranked team, so we’re going to approach it that way.”