Optimism pays off for Roy’s ‘fresh five’ as Royals clinch share of region title

Friday , February 09, 2018 - 10:48 PM

ROY — Every great group of athletes needs a cool nickname, and the starting five for the Roy High girls basketball team certainly has one.

Senior Mia Fernandes, one of those starting five, came up with the name “fresh five” because they’ve been playing at Roy since their freshman year. It’s stuck ever since.

“We thought we had to have a name just because we were the five that came up and she came up with that, and that’s what it was,” said senior Josie Williams, another member of the group.

It takes a bold bunch of girls to come up with a nickname for themselves. Confidence was not a problem. Despite the struggles of the girls basketball program at Roy, they believed they could win a region title, Williams said.

Friday night inside the Ted Smith Gymnasium, the “fresh five” — which also includes seniors Brittney Hatch, Sarah Shulz and Laura Hadley — celebrated exactly what they thought they could by defeating Viewmont 52-50 to claim at least a share of the Region 5 championship.

The Royals can win the title outright with a win next Wednesday at Woods Cross.

“This is exactly what we envisioned, actually,” said Hatch, who totaled 18 points.

A key reason for Roy’s win Friday, coach Carolyn DeHoff said, was a visit from Fred Fernandes, Mia’s father and the school’s head football coach.

“The tone was set yesterday when Fred Fernandes came in and he said, ‘Each one of you has a role. You need to do your role well.’” DeHoff said. “He said, ‘Josie, do you bring the ball up the floor?’ She said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Why?’ She said, ‘Because that’s not my role.’ And that was the message.”

Williams, a 6-foot-5 center, played her role to perfection against Viewmont. She dominated the paint, scoring her team’s first nine points and finishing with a game-high 28.

Williams scored 11 points in a pivotal third quarter that Roy won 18-9, including a 3 which she banked in just before the buzzer to give the Royals a 42-35 lead.

Roy led by as many as nine in the fourth quarter before Viewmont rallied, eventually tying the contest at 49-49 with 38 seconds left following a Mercedes Staples jumper.

Hatch and Williams then combined to knock down three free throws and Staples was fouled with 4.5 seconds left, preventing the Clemson-bound senior from attempting a game-tying 3. Staples made the first free throw and missed the second but the Vikings couldn’t corral the rebound. The Royals subsequently ran out the clock.

Roy’s student section immediately flooded the floor.

“I can’t describe it. It was awesome,” Williams said. “I’m tearing up just thinking about it.”

Staples, who finished with a team-high 22 points, scored nine points in the first quarter to help give Viewmont a 15-14 lead after one. The Vikings led 26-24 at halftime.

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