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ST. ANTHONY â€” The was a huge sigh of relief coming from the Firth side of the court on Friday evening as they held off a valiant effort from the North Fremont Huskies, advancing to the 2A Nuclear Conference championship game with a breath taking 47-46 victory.
"It's not often that I say this but North Fremont outplayed us. They deserved this game more than us," Firth head coach Scott Adams said. "We played in a panic and to be honest, I felt that we only played four minutes of good basketball and that was the start of the third quarter."
Trailing 25-22 entering the second half of play Firth certainly had a good third quarter as they opened the third quarter on a 15-4 run. Mitch Orme was the key cog in the run as the senior put the team squarely on his shoulders, slashing his way to the hoop where he converted a trio of three point plays by hitting the bucket and the free throw from the North Fremont foul.
Orme finished with 13 of his game high 20 points in the third quarter of play and after his final bucket at 2:02, Firth led by nine at 42-33.
That proved to be the Cougars final score from the field as their remaining five points were courtesy of the free throw line as the irons turned cold for the normally hot shooting Cougars.
"We didn't go into a stall game, we weren't playing not to lose," Coach Adams said. "We were running our offense but we just got tentative. Kids got the ball with open looks but never looked to score. Instead we were looking to get rid of the ball. We were really fortunate tonight."
North Fremont quickly erased the nine point deficit with a 5-0 run to close the third quarter. A defensive struggle then ensued in the final quarter as neither team were prepared to allow any easy shots and with :36 remaining in the contest, the Huskies took their first lead since the half when Tagg Jeppesen picked up a steal and then raced down court for the go ahead lay up.
On the ensuing offensive possession the Cougars worked the ball around the perimeter, eventually finding Orme at the free throw line where he turned and drove to the hole. Orme drew the foul and in front of a packed gym screaming at the top of their lungs, coolly swished a pair of free throws making the score 47-46 with :19 remaining.
From there Firth locked down on the defensive end and a wild shot as time expired never drew iron as Firth escaped with the one point victory.
"All we did tonight was give Salmon and North Fremont confidence," coach Adams said. "When we lost to North Fremont at their place earlier this year it lit a fire under us and I hope that tonights game will do the same thing. We need to get our swagger back."
FIRTH 47, NORTH FREMONT 46
North Fremont 15 10 13 8 - 46
Firth 8 14 20 5 - 47
North Fremont (46) - Tyler Hess 15, Caden Hyde 2, Tagg Jeppesen 15, Taylor Hansen 3, Josh Smith 5, Dalton Leatham 6. FG: 16. FT: 10-22. 3-pointers: 2-10 (Tagg Jeppesen 1, Dalton Leatham 1). Fouls: 18. Fouled out: (Tyler Hess).
Firth (47) - Jordan Chapman 11, Kent Jolley 7, Quinn Alvey 4, Dallan Bingham 5, Mitch Orme 20. FG: 16. FT: 11-17. 3-pointers: 4-9 (Jordan Chapman 3, Kent Jolley 1). Fouls: 17. Fouled out: none.