Ashley McConnell had the game of her career.
And now, Fremd’s girls basketball team is back in the game.
After a loss to Palatine in its Mid-Suburban League West opener after 25 straight conference wins, the Vikings have started a new streak by winning their third in a row with a superb come-from-behind win over visiting Barrington on Friday night.
The Vikings, who fell behind 19-4, surged back and finally grabbed their first lead with under five minutes in the final quarter before posting a 47-44 victory that improved their record to 12-2 and 3-1.
They are tied for first with Hoffman Estates (8-2, 3-1) followed by Palatine (11-3, 3-2) and Barrington (9-5, 3-2).
Despite seeing a lot of attention from the Barrington defense, McConnell tossed in a career-high 33 points with 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists.
“She’s a very special player,” said Barrington coach Babbi Barreiro of the 2011-12 MSL West Player of the Year. “She is very talented.”
McConnell and classmate Bernie Williams (8 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals) were the only Vikings to collect baskets until Erica Simios scored on a rebound layup with 5:30 left in the fourth quarter.
McConnell, whose previous career-best was 32 points against Huntley, had 4 3-pointers and made 13-of-17 free throws.
“What can I say about Ashley?” said Fremd coach Dave Yates. “They played a box and one on her and she still got 33. It’s been cool to see the growth she needed to take over a game and that’s what she did.”
Barrington seemed to be taking control in the first half.
A pair of 3-pointers by Brooke Gunderson and one by Aoife Callanan helped stake the Fillies to a 17-4 lead.
Senior Alexa Resch hit a bank shot with 1:04 left in the quarter for a 19-4 cushion.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by McConnell got the Vikes to within 19-10 after one quarter.
Barrington was able to maintain the 9-point lead at the break as Maddie Bartz scored the Fillies final 2 baskets of the half.
“They came out on fire,” Yates said. “Give them credit. They had a tough game on Wednesday night (a 40-30 loss to Hoffman Estates) but coach Barreiro did a nice job to get a young group to come back strong. They came out and gave us their best shot and completely outplayed us in the first half.”
But the three-time defending MSL West champs were up to challenge in the second half.
After freshman Bryana Hopkins’ steal and layup gave the Fillies a 33-25 with 2:54 left in the third quarter, Fremd got to within 33-30 on a bank shot by Williams and 3-pointer by McConnell.
“We just had to come together as a team,” McConnell said. “We needed to get stops and settle down on offense. And we came out and did it in the second half. We started to make their lead shorter and shorter.”
Simios’ rebound layup cut the deficit to 36-35 and 2 free throws by McConnell gave Fremd its first lead at 37-36 with 4:55 left.
The Vikes increased the advantage to 42-36 on 2 free throws by McConnell but Barrington got to within 44-42 on a 14-foot pull-up jumper by Hopkins with 18 seconds left.
McConnell’s 3-point play with 13 seconds left made it 47-42 before Carrie Madden scored the game’s final points on a layup with five second left.
“We kept them on 29 points for about nearly five minutes to start the second half,” Yates said. “That’s what we talked about at halftime. We needed to regroup and chip away. It was really nice to see our character. No matter what kind of run they made at us, we were able to come back.”
Hannah LaBarge helped the Vikes’ defense with 3 steals.
Leading the Fillies on the boards were Resch (6 rebounds) and Bailee McDonald (5). Hopkins paced a balanced offense with 10 points, followed Resch (7), Gunderson (6) and Angie Kirchoff (6).
“I have complete faith in our kids,” Barrerio said. “They could not have any more confidence. But we made some critical mistakes at critical times. We’re really young and inconsistent sometimes, but we’re getting too far into the season and should be getting better at those things.
“In general, I’m happy with the team. Bryana (6-foot forward) played a pretty composed game. It just comes down to the little things that we talk about in practice. We did them in the first half but I think we started to panic a little, almost like we were playing to lose.”
The Vikings haven’t lost in the Sterling Shootout (3-0). They will play Hononegah at 1 p.m. today and a victory could have them playing for the tourney championship at 6 p.m. against Montini.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.