By Steve Pimper
The Final Four in the Utah 5A girls state basketball tournament is set.
The top three ranked squads in the state claimed their expected spots in Wednesday action, while the Fremont Silverwolves knocked off No. 5 Lone Peak to crash the semifinal roundball party.
Fremont made the elite quartet by going on a 25-7 scoring run to close out the game and send the Lady Knights home with a 72-54 quarterfinal loss.
Fremont guard Whitney Lynch was the key factor in leading the Silverwolves as she knocked down three treys and totaled a game high 23 points to advance her squad into Friday's semifinal game against second-ranked Bingham.
Lynch got ample support from teammates Erica Nish with 17 points and Mechel Hunt added 16 in leading the Fremont team to the victory.
Hunt was quick to point out that this win was the only present she wanted for her birthday, but she also got a "Happy Birthday" team song as well as sharing a birthday and victory cake in a joyous post-game celebration.
The other three semifinalists had little trouble in reaching the Final Four as top-ranked and defending state champion Skyline rolled to an easy 58-38 win. Dani Peterson led the Lady Eagles with 17 points.
Meanwhile, No. 2 Bingham put on a second-half defensive clinic by holding Layton to only two field goals en route to a 51-38 win.
The Lady Darts of Davis also cruised by American Fork, 65-52, as Allison Blake threw down 18 points and Dani Hoskins chipped in with 14 to give the third-ranked Darts the victory. American Fork's Kaycee Mansfield netted a game-high 26 points for the losers.
The same Salt Lake Community College campus gives the spotlight back to the 4A girls quarterfinal games today as the state's second largest classification will decide its Final Four in Thursday action.
The matchups are intriguing as four teams from northern Utah's Region V are paired against four squads from Utah County's Region VII. The possibility, though not likely, of the Final Four all coming from the same league has put added interest into today's contests.
Leading off the day's action will be the top-ranked Lady Mustangs of Mountain Crest (20-2) against the upstart Lady Pioneers of Lehi (8-13). Mountain Crest, led by Jaicee Kuresa, is a prohibitive favorite.
Third-ranked Orem (17-5) then tangles with the Lady Braves of Bountiful (9-12). It will take a season-best performance by the Braves to stay with the Lady Tigers fearsome foursome of Delyse Downey, Jamie Sagers, Brianne Larsen and Jessica Saliby, who all scored double digits in Orem's opening round route of East.
The Provo Lady Bulldogs (15-6) are not likely to now overlook Sky View (11-10) in the third game of the day. Sky View's Bobcats have grabbed the Cinderella role of the tournament after ousting No. 2 Murray in the shocker of round one.
The nightcap may be the best game of the four with the third ranked Lady Bees of Box Elder (19-3) taking on the up-and-down Thunderbirds of Timpview (11-9). Timpview is more than capable of springing the upset but Box Elder's dynamic duo of Mandy Munns and Celeste Wouden who posted a double-double against Highland may be too much for the Lady Thunderbirds to overcome.
Semi-final games for both the 5A and 4A games will be played on Friday.