PLAIN CITY — The second half of Region 1 play is proving to be much more difficult than the first for Fremont, but the end result hasn’t changed.
After winning its first five points by an average of 20 points, Fremont has had to grind out single-digit victories the last three games, including Friday’s gritty 55-53 victory over visiting Davis.
Davis caught Fremont by surprise early with a different defensive wrinkle than the first meeting, but the ‘Wolves eventually settled in and then held off a late Davis rally to improve to 8-0 in region play and open up a two-game cushion with four games remaining.
“These last three games, we’ve played tight ballgames. I wouldn’t say the first half of region was easy for us, but we won comfortably. It’s good for us to play tight games and to pull them out. Now I don’t want any more,” said Fremont coach Corey Melaney.
Fremont led by 13 at the end of the third quarter, but Davis hit five 3-pointers in the fourth that helped whittle the lead to two points on two different occasions.
When Davis’s Brendon Redford cut the lead to 51-49 on a layup with 2:14 remaining, Fremont beat the press to push the lead back to four and, after a defensive stop, stretched it to 55-49 with 1:29 remaining.
The next time the visitors cut the lead to two, there were only 10 seconds left and Davis was out of timeouts. Fremont patiently waited to inbound the ball. Once it finally did, the final seconds ticked away harmlessly.
“We feel really good where we are right now,” said Melaney.
Dallin Hall led the way for Fremont with 18 points and eight rebounds, while Baylor Harrop chipped in with 12 points. Harrop added three steals, including a key steal near half court with under 30 seconds left that helped tick valuable time off the clock.
Harrop missed the contested layup at the other end, but those wasted seconds were key as Davis never had a chance to steal the ball or foul in the final seconds down only two.
Fremont never trailed after taking a 14-11 lead early in the second quarter as it shot 46 percent from the field.Comment on this story
The key stretch came in the final three minutes of the third quarter as Fremont used a 10-1 spurt to extend the lead to 41-28.
“Our defense (was key), and then we got out in transition a little bit and got out and ran and didn’t let them get set up into their zone,” said Melaney.
Davis’s Tyson Garff led all scorers with 23 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. Redford added 14 points for the Darts, and Spencer Vernon provided a huge lift off the bench in the fourth quarter as he scored Davis’s first eight points aided by a pair of 3-pointers.