We've been playing tight for a while now. They're just really young, and they don't know how to push through moments. I feel like they're learning how to do it, and it's been kind of fun to watch it. —Lisa Dalebout, head coach
TAYLORSVILLE — Fremont's Kealani Sagapolu was just another nervous freshman trying not to make a mistake in her first playoff game when she first stepped on the Salt Lake Community College basketball court Monday afternoon.
"The first half I was kind of shaky with everything, the atmosphere, but after playing and getting it all out, I was OK," said the freshman, whose defense helped the Silver Wolves upset fourth-ranked Viewmont, 46-45, in overtime. "Just being out there with my teammates, their energy helped."
With the Viewmont leading 33-29, Sagapolu drew a charge with 2:40 left in the third quarter in what was the first of several key defensive plays for the soft-spoken freshman. On the subsequent play, junior Amanda Wayment was fouled and hit both free throws to bring Fremont within two points.
The Silver Wolves set up in a press and she stole the ball and then passed to Wayment, who hit the layup that tied the game at 33 with 2:21 to play.
About a minute later, Sagapolu grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back, scoring her only two points of the game and giving Fremont a 35-33 lead.
"She plays fearless," said head coach Lisa Dalebout. "She's always been that way, even when we had her come play with us this summer. She's never really been afraid. The moments never really get to her."
And there were plenty of moments in Monday's thriller for both teams.
Junior Caitlyn Larsen led Viewmont in the first half scoring seven of her 11 points.
Katie Toole was a beast in the second half of the game, especially in the paint. After a Viewmont time out in that crucial third quarter, she hit a jump shot, was fouled and hit the foul shot to give the Vikings a 36-35 lead. She scored 12 of her 15 points in the second half.
"We made some nice plays down the stretch," said Viewmont head coach Clint Straatman. "The girls fought hard, and I'm proud of them. It's tough to lose at state, no matter when, but somebody has to lose and I know how that goes. That's a really good team, a well-coached team."
The Silver Wolves are also a young team with freshmen making key plays and a sophomore hitting the free throws that won the game.
Harley Hansen hit a lay-up with 3.2 seconds left in regulation and tied the game 37-37. She said the play wasn't designed for anyone in particular.
"It was supposed to go to anyone," she said with a shrug. "We just needed to take a layup."
Her fellow freshman was impressed.
"I was really proud of her," said Sagapolu smiling. "I was happy and excited that she was able to do it."
The overtime was as back-and-forth as the rest of the 32-minute game had been and looked like it might be headed to a second overtime when sophomore Shelbee Molen was fouled with three seconds remaining. She made 1 of 2 to give Fremont a 46-45 lead that it would hang onto despite Viewmont's best effort.
Dalebout yelled, "be positive" to her team throughout the game.
"I feel like we played tight," she said. "We've been playing tight for a while now. They're just really young, and they don't know how to push through moments. I feel like they're learning how to do it, and it's been kind of fun to watch it."
Wayment led Fremont in scoring with 12 points, while Tanesha Daniels added 10 points. Molen finished with nine points. The win allows Fremont to move on to Wednesday's quarterfinals where it will take on Riverton at 7 p.m. at SLCC.