The Fremont boys basketball team has gotten a little better each year; this looks like its breakout season

Plain City • Talmage Mitchell still remembers a time he and three friends played against Dallin Hall. It was well before all five were teammates on the Fremont High School boys basketball team.

Mitchell, Tige Voorhees, Mitch Stratford and Harrison Stimpson — then in first or second grade — all played on the same Select AAU team. And they all rued the day Hall was on the opposite side of the court.

“He ate our lunch,” Mitchell recalled.

Hall is on their side now, leading the Silverwolves in scoring and assists as the team’s senior point guard. Behind his leadership and unselfish play, Fremont has started the season 9-0 (1-0 in 6A Region 1) and is ranked atop the classification’s RPI.

Hall is averaging 21.4 points and 7.6 assists per game on 49.6% shooting. He is a 3-star recruit, per 247Sports, and has yet to commit to a university for the 2020-21 season.

But it’s not only Hall that has the Silverwolves howling in unison. When asked what the driving force has been behind the undefeated start to the 2019-20 season, several players say it has nothing to do with basketball. Instead, it’s the bond created off the court that started at elementary-school age.

Nine of the 12 players on Fremont’s roster are seniors. Seven of those — Voorhees, Hall, Stimpson, Mitchell, Stratford, Baylor Harrop and Kipp Calder — played on the same club team during their elementary school years. The other two seniors, Bridger Smith and Judd Belnap, became acquainted with the seven during middle school.

Because so much of the team has that history, playing basketball together feels like second nature.

“A lot of times it just feels like we’re playing in the offseason just going to someone’s church and playing basketball,” Mitchell said. “It doesn’t ever feel like there’s these huge stakes. It feels like we’re just playing with the boys, just hanging out.”

This year, however, there may actually be huge stakes. Despite winning their region two years in a row, the Silverwolves have bowed out of the state tournament early. They lost in the semifinals last season, the quarterfinals in 2017-18 and the first round in 2016-17.

The group of seniors collectively believe that this could be the year they win it all. Harrop said there’s a sense of urgency around the team this season to do just that.

“This is our time,” Harrop said. “This is our last chance. … We’re going to do everything we can to be able to achieve that goal.”

So far, Fremont has made the case that it is worthy of at least making it to the 6A state championship game. In its 9-0 start, six of those games have been won by double digits, likely because the Silverwolves like to shoot 3-pointers. They have attempted more shots from beyond the arc than inside it since so far this season.

Coach Corey Melaney said Fremont’s penchant for long-distance shots is by design. He has the team practice drills that involve one player driving down the lane and then passing it to a shooter. Many of his set plays are also designed to end in a 3-point shot.

While some players — such as Voorhees and Hall, Mitchell said — have always been proficient outside shooters, others have had to develop that skill over the years. Melaney said this year’s team is at a higher level than previous iterations.

“We’ve never had a shooting team like this,” Melaney said.

The statistics confirm Melaney’s impression. Three players are shooting at least 40% from beyond the arc on at least 45 attempts. Hall has shot the most 3s (63), and is shooting 35%.

Part of the reason for Fremont’s good shooting is the team’s overall unselfishness. Several players said that starts with Hall, who has a high usage rate and is relied on to make the correct reads throughout the game.

“He makes the game easy for us,” Voorhees said of Hall. “We trust him that he’ll make plays and he’ll make the right play for sure.”

Hall said that his father taught him from an early age to read the defense and make the correct pass if that’s what was available to him. That lesson has certainly stuck. In Fremont’s most recent win over Bonneville, Hall amassed 12 assists to go with his 18 points.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the team,” Hall said. “So if I’m needed to score and shots aren’t falling from the rest of our guys, I’ll go score. But if the defense is helping because they’re going to close on me, I’m just going to make the right play and kick it out.”

Hall said he has narrowed his choices of schools to four. He has offers from several universities, including Brigham Young, Weber State and Utah State. He said he thinks about his recruitment constantly, and that sometimes it gets “tough.”

Calder said he has a few classes with Hall and asks him every day about his recruitment, trying to get any sliver of information he can about where Hall might be leaning. Mitchell asks him often as well.

But Hall has kept that information close to the vest.

“He’s not budging,” Calder said. “He’s not telling us, anyway.”

Mitchell said he and Stimpson want Hall to attend Utah State because that’s most likely where other Fremont players will end up attending. Calder, however, thinks BYU would make sense due to Hall’s membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Hall said once he makes his decision, he will commit right then and there instead of waiting for the April signing period. But until then, he’s trying to focus on the Silverwolves and their quest for a state title.

After every huddle, the entire Fremont team yells, “State champs!” Hall believes it’s in the cards for the Silverwolves.

“We all believe it’s our year,” Hall said.