Taylorsville • If things go really well, a team that finishes fourth in region can go from being an underdog in the state tourney to being on a roll to being a state title contender. Check off stage two for the Fremont Silver Wolves after pushing aside American Fork 49-26 in the Class 5A girls' basketball quarterfinals on Wednesday.
After upsetting Viewmont on Monday in the opening round, the Wolves now have a date in the semifinals.
"Getting the first state game out of the way was really important for us. We played loose tonight, and I was very proud of the way we played defense," Fremont coach Lisa Dalebout said. "We're playing loose and playing fearless, and it's kind of nice."
American Fork (18-6) had trouble scoring throughout the contest at Salt Lake Community College, but was still down only one point late in the first quarter after Jaylee Shepherd hit a baseline jumper. But in the last two minutes of the period, Fremont (13-10) got two buckets from Tanesha Daniels and another from Amanda Wayment to lead 11-5 going into the second.
Daniels, Wayment and Kealani Sagapolu established themselves in the paint for the Silver Wolves, and that eventually opened up the outside game for sophomore Shelbee Molen and freshman Harley Hansen.
Molen finished with a game-high 14 points, while Hansen added a dozen. Four Fremont players had six or more rebounds as the Wolves had a 41-27 edge on the boards.
"We're incredibly young we have only one senior, and it's been a maturation process for us all year long," Dalebout said. "I think Region 1 does an incredible job of preparing you, because every night is a dogfight."
The Cavemen scored five straight points in the middle of the second period, capped by a 3 from Shepherd, to make the score 18-13. But Fremont then registered a 7-1 run, marked by a 3 from Molen, to go up 11 points at half.
An 8-0 stretch at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth, giving the Wolves a 22-point lead, essentially put the game out of reach.
"They were better than us. They made shots, and we didn't," said American Fork coach Corey Clayton, whose team got eight points each from Shepherd and Cassidy Fraughton. "Our kids, for some reason, looked more nervous than their kids right off the bat."
"I think we're just growing into ourselves and playing more as a team especially on defense," Molen said. "I think we're just coming together."