TAYLORSVILE — Down by 22 points at halftime, Fremont High girls basketball coach Lisa Dalebout ordered her players not to look at the scoreboard.
"She said we could look at the clock, but not the score," said Haley Sturdevant, who led the Silver Wolves' stunning 49-44 win over Region 1 rival Viewmont on Wednesday at Salt Lake Community College.
Dalebout did not want her players to think about the massive task they had to accomplish in order to earn a semifinal berth in the 5A State Tournament.
"I knew we would just have to play possession to possession and just try and chip away at the lead," the Silver Wolves' coach said. "I think we stole the momentum in the first four minutes. I am so proud of our defense."
The Vikings owned the first half. Viewmont shot 47 percent from the field, outrebounded Fremont 25-12, and kept the Silver Wolves from doing anything effective on offense. Senior Xojian Harry put on a virtual clinic, scoring 19 points and grabbing nine rebounds in the first half. She finished with a game-high 29 points and 12 rebounds.
At halftime, the fifth-seeded Vikings led the second-seeded Wolves 32-10.
"Before the game, I felt like there were two keys — points in the paint and rebounds," said Dalebout. "We got murdered on both."
"I don't know if it was nerves, I don't know," said Dalebout. "Viewmont is tough. I was disappointed. They (Fremont) acted beat. We talked about demeanor, body language, we just talked about playing intense basketball."
Sturdevant credited her coach completely with the team's turnaround in the second half.
"I think it was nerves," said Sturdevant, who scored 13 points, grabbed four rebounds, and had four assists and five steals. "We weren't running our plays. ... Our coach was amazing. She really picked us up."
The Silver Wolves came out in the second half and turned the tables on Viewmont. Dalebout said they made some adjustments, including putting Sturdevant on Harry.
"She's a tough player to guard," said Sturdevant. "But every time I got beat by her, my team was there to help me out."
In the third and fourth quarters, it was the Vikings who couldn't find any offensive rhythm, while the Wolves slowly made their way back into the quarterfinal game.
"The score was in the back of my mind, but we just did what coach said and played possession to possession," Sturdevant said. "It feels great to be able to do that. We did it as a team. We needed everyone to play a part. ... We've come back before, but not like that."
Mikkell Minnoch added 13 pounds, four steals and four rebounds, Kelsie Bell finished with 12 points and four rebounds. Tanesha Daniels added nine points and 12 rebounds in the win that allows Fremont to move on to play Alta in Friday's semifinals.
"It's nice," Dalebout said of the effort her team showed. "It's been a fun year, an interesting year. They've worked hard and they've trusted me."Comment on this story
Dalebout took over the program last year when Larry Hadley retired. She is a Fremont alum and said she's enjoyed coaching at her former high school.
She also praised first-year Viewmont coach Clint Straatman.
"He's got those girls playing amazing," she said.
Straatman credited his seniors with transforming the program which won just nine games in the last four years.
"I don't want this to take away from our season," said Straatman. "I feel really bad for our seniors. They turned the whole program around. They deserve a lot of credit for the whole entire year."