The Fremont boys took another step in the right direction Saturday with their defense.
After Millard South scored 18 points in the first six minutes, Fremont slowed the Patriots the rest of the way as the Tigers earned a 53-48 road victory.
Fremont started the season 2-3, but has won five of its last six. The Tigers have allowed less than 50 points in each of their four victories after Christmas.
“This team is still learning how to play together. I think we've taken some good strides on the defensive end. That's the biggest jump I've seen,” Fremont coach Mark Williams said. “Defensively, we have to continue to make teams earn their points.”
Fremont's main emphasis Saturday was containing Patriot senior guards Wyatt Miller and Troy Sedlacek. The duo finished with 17 and 16 points, respectively, but they were a combined 12 of 36 from the field.
“I thought we did a pretty job of making them take contested shots. That's about the best you can do against them,” Williams said. “That helped our defense a lot.”
As a team, Millard South (6-5) made six of its first eight attempts and led by as many as five in the first quarter. But for the rest of the afternoon, the Patriots were 11 of 41 from the field.
“Our offense has always been there, but our defense has stepped up a lot,” Fremont senior Noah Voss said.
Voss was one of the Tigers who stepped up Saturday as he led the team with 15 points and 11 rebounds. He also hit one of the biggest shots of the game.
Millard South, which trailed by as many as eight in the second half, grabbed a 43-42 lead when Sedlacek scored in the lane with three minutes left.
But Voss answered with a 3-pointer from the right corner — it was the ninth and final lead change of the game. Weston Spalding hit a 17-footer on Fremont's next possession to make it 47-43, and then the Tigers made 5 of 6 free throws in the final 25 seconds to secure the win.
“I told the kids players need to make plays, and Noah Voss hit a huge 3,” Williams said. “I don't know what Noah's numbers were, but I thought he was really, really good.”
While Millard South couldn't get shots to fall from the field in the second half, the Patriots also hurt themselves at the free throw line. They were 9 of 19 from the line for the game, including 2 of 7 in the fourth quarter.
“You can't decide to play a quarter and beat a great team like Fremont. You've got to play for four quarters,” Millard South coach Tyler Cerveny said. “We didn't leave ourselves any margin for error. You have to give Fremont credit: They did a nice job of guarding us. But we did not shoot the ball very well.”
Millard South, which committed only five turnovers on the day, returns to action Tuesday at Bellevue West. The Patriots edged the Thunderbirds 56-54 in the Metro Holiday tournament.
Fremont (7-4) ...................................................... 15 13 11 14—53
At Millard South (6-5) .......................................... 18 6 11 13—48
F: Weston Spalding 4-7 1-3 11, Matthew Hahn 1-6 0-0 3, Noah Voss 5-7 3-5 15, Mitchell Hahn 3-9 8-10 14, Dillon Rector 2-3 0-0 4, Ryan Williams 1-1 3-3 5, Kenneth Bristol 0-0 1-2 1, Jacob Glowacki 0-1 0-0 0, Corey Archer 0-2 0-2 0, Hunter Horrocks 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 16-38 16-25 53.
MS: Calvin Rudolph 3-5 0-0 8, Wyatt Miller 6-17 4-7 17, Troy Sedlacek 6-19 2-5 16, Garran Pauli 0-3 1-2 1, Kyle Crampton 1-2 2-2 4, Brendan Rockwell 1-2 0-3 2, Brandon Sieg 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-49 9-19 48.
3-point goals: F 5-18 (Spalding 2-4, Voss 2-3, Ma. Hahn 1-5, Mi. Hahn 0-2, Horrocks 0-1, Glowacki 0-1, Archer 0-2); MS 5-17 (Rudolph 2-2, Sedlacek 2-6, Miller 1-8, Sieg 0-1). Rebounds: F 35 (Voss 11); MS 28 (Rudolph, Rockwell 5). Turnovers: F 9, MS 5. Total fouls: F 12, MS 21. Fouled out: None. Att.: 800 (est.).