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Winter prep sports' Top 10 moments of the 2018 season

Monday , March 12, 2018 - 7:16 PM

Spring sports technically began last week, starting one of the quicker transitions between sports seasons as we go from exclusively indoor sports to hoping Utah’s spring weather doesn’t wreak too much havoc on the schedules.

Since the hardwood, swimming pool and wrestling mats are still relatively fresh in our minds, let’s pause and reflect on the Top 10 winter sports moments this season.

1. Fremont girls basketball wins the state championship

Fremont girls basketball lost its November season-opener to Copper Hills, a Grizzlies team that eventually made the 6A state semifinals.

Three months, 24 games, a Region 1 championship and 20 straight wins later, the Silver Wolves beat Bingham 61-47 in the 6A state title game and hoisted the championship trophy.

To get there, Fremont survived a 16-point first-half deficit against Riverton, one that was erased for good when Karlie Valdez’s runner went in with one second left, a back-and-forth overtime semifinal against Westlake and then the Miners, who twice erased Fremont’s seven-point leads.

But when the Silver Wolves took a 49-47 lead late, they never relinquished it.

Trophy? Check.

2. Morgan girls basketball pushes past tragedy to win region title

Before basketball even started, Morgan girls basketball dealt with a close loss, that of the boyfriend of one of the Trojans’ players.

He was known well by the team, having driven to Morgan often to watch his girlfriend play soccer and basketball.

Then before Christmas, one of the team managers’ father passed away. In fewer than two months, two of the team’s own had gone through tragedy.

What did the Trojans do after that? They rebounded from a 4-9 record, a seven-game losing streak and won a share of the Region 13 championship, finishing 15-11 overall and 7-1 in Region 13.

3. Kaygen Canfield recovers from a torn ACL, wins third-straight wrestling title

Football season was over not long after it started for Bear River senior Kaygen Canfield when he tore his ACL in August in the season-opener.

Wrestling this year was out of the question — or so it appeared.

About six months later on Feb. 10 at the 4A wrestling state championships in Orem, Canfield won the 152-pound championship by beating Mountain Crest’s Brayden Guthrie 1-0.

It was his third individual state championship in a row, and probably the sweetest since it was going to be a successful year if he wrestled at all.

4. Bonneville girls basketball goes from one win to region champions

Who could’ve thought after a one-win season, Bonneville girls basketball would cut down the nets in February?

Well, that’s exactly what happened.

The Lakers went 1-17 in 2016-17.

This year: 16-6, a 14-game winning streak that spanned two months and an outright Region 11 championship clinched at home in a comeback win over Tooele.

That turnaround speaks for itself.

5. Brock Hardy wins fourth wrestling state championship

Brock Hardy was so dominant that the record bookkeepers could have written his achievements in pen before they happened.

Here’s a brief summary of what the Box Elder senior wrestler accomplished with his win in the 5A 145-pound state championship match.

Hardy became the 20th prep wrestler in Utah to win four state championships, the second Box Elder wrestler to do so, finished with a 46-0 record and a No. 1 ranking in the nation by FloWrestling in the 145-pound weight class.

“Star-studded” doesn’t begin to describe it.

6. Fremont boys basketball wins the region championship

Region 1 boys basketball was a brawl this year. So for Fremont, led by two sophomores, to win the region at 9-3 was impressive.

Consider the Silver Wolves’ three losses were by a total of six points. Not only that, but of their nine region wins, five were by six points or fewer.

The ninth, the one that clinched the outright title, came when a 50-foot heave at the buzzer by Syracuse’s Brock Gilbert didn’t go in, though at that point in February it wouldn’t have surprised anyone if it did.

7. Mariah Maile captures three first-place finishes at state swim meet

Viewmont junior swimmer Mariah Maile made sure this year’s state swimming meet, held at VHS’s home pool at the South Davis Recreation Center, was one she’d never forget.

First, she won the 200-yard freestyle. Then it was the 100-yard freestyle.

To cap it all off was first place in the Vikings’ 200 freestyle relay, a relay team that included her sister MJ Maile.

8. Box Elder upsets Skyridge in the girls basketball state tournament

Around 12:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at Salt Lake Community College, the Box Elder girls basketball team set the tone. March Madness started early.

The Bees, seeded No. 4, upset Skyridge, the Region 8 champion, 60-53. They trailed 42-38 heading to the fourth quarter and appeared to be running out of gas. Box Elder wasn’t about to give up.

Emily Isaacson, in particular, was not about to be denied with a career-best 27 points on 9 of 18 shooting from the field and a 5 of 8 mark from 3-point range.

9. Skyler Turner’s rehab and return from an ACL tear

A torn ACL in sports used to mean an 8-9 month recovery after surgery.

Layton’s Skyler Turner did it in five.

On Nov. 28 against American Fork in the Lancers’ boys basketball season opener, the Lancers’ senior post not only played five months after tearing his left ACL on June 20, but scored 10 points with eight rebounds and Layton won 82-73 in double overtime.

Turner was a mainstay in the starting lineup all year, posting averages of 7.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. It was impressive Turner was even on the court to begin with.

10. Brock Gilbert’s game-winner vs. Layton

It became kind of a thing in January — Brock Gilbert putting his imprint on basketball games.

On Jan. 12 at home against Layton with the score tied 50-50 and the game waning into its final seconds, Syracuse’s 5-foot-9 point guard drove from the left side into four defenders and pulled off the most improbable of his late-game heroics.

Gilbert drove at four defenders — measuring 6-foot-2, 6-foot-4, 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-10 — and made an underhand layup to give Syracuse a 52-50 win.

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