High school girls basketball: Fremont turns back Bingham to reach 5A semifinals for 2nd straight year

Published: Thursday, Feb. 27 2014 9:45 p.m. MST

Fremont/Bingham during 5A quarterfinals basketball in Taylorsville Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The Silver Wolves from Fremont had squandered most of a seemingly safe 15-point lead in the second half, were clinging to a precarious 45-41 margin late in the fourth quarter, and desperately needed somebody to come up with a big play.

Amanda Wayment delivered.

After she missed a free throw, a mad scramble for the loose ball ensued, resembling a pinball machine going poing-poing-poing under the basket.

After a couple of offensive rebounds by her teammates, Wayment, a 6-foot-1 senior center, suddenly found the ball back in her own hands, and she banked in a wide-open layup and was fouled in the process.

She splashed in the subsequent free throw for a critical three-point play with 1:26 remaining, restoring a seven-point lead for Fremont on its way to a 54-41 victory over Bingham in Thursday's quarterfinals of the 5A girls state tournament at Salt Lake Community College.

"My two teammates got the good offensive boards before me, so that played a role because it came right to me," Wayment said of her game-turning play. "I was like, 'I don't even know what ...' and when it went in, I was like 'Oh, OK.'"

The win sends Region 1 co-champion Fremont (21-2) into the 5A semifinals for the second straight year, setting up a showdown with Brighton at 4:10 p.m. in SLCC's Bruin Arena. The Wolves, who beat Brighton by 15 points in the preseason, lost to Riverton in overtime in last year's state tourney semis, and also lost in the semifinal round to Alta in 2011.

So they're certainly hoping that, this year, the third time's the charm.

"I really feel like we just need to come out and play our basketball, stay in the moment," Fremont coach Lisa Dalebout said of Friday's semifinal battle with the Bengals. "I don't know if we have to change anything but just play with a fearlessness and with a determination to finish it. And that's kinda what we've been talking about.

"We've got a big-time opponent — Brighton is as good as they are — they're big, they're strong, they're good shooters, so we've got our hands full.

"But I honestly have a lot of confidence in these girls," she said. "They play with some savvy, they stay within themselves, and they play together really nicely. So I'm excited to see what we can do."

On Thursday, the Silver Wolves got superb performances from Wayment, who wound up with a game-high 17 points, 10 rebounds and four steals; and sophomore Harley Hansen, who had 14 points — including three free throws in the final minute to help Fremont pull away — and, most impressively, eight steals on the defensive end of the floor.

"Harley had lots of steals and that's her game; she's really good at doing that," Wayment said. "She played like a senior today. It was really nice."

Coach Dalebout agreed.

"Harley played huge for us, absolutely," she said. "She was the aggressor on the defensive end and it just kinda helped relax us, to be honest. She played with some ferocity and some fearlessness that helped our whole team. She definitely didn't play like a sophomore today, that's for sure."

Shelbee Molen contributed eight points for Fremont, while McKenzie Burrows added seven points, including four key free throws in the final 2:52, and also grabbed six rebounds. Kaelani Sagapolu pulled down 10 boards, and Sydnee Ward contributed five points and five rebounds off the bench for the Wolves.

For Bingham (13-9), Jade Loftus scored 12 points, including a couple of huge 3-pointers in the fourth quarter that fueled the Miners' comeback from a 39-24 deficit with 2 1/2 minutes remaining in the third period.