Schoffstall era coming to an end at Fremd

It's the last of the Schoffstalls.

When the high school basketball season concludes in March for Fremd, it will also be the end of an era for the Vikings.

For the past 10 seasons, there has been at least one member of the Schoffstall family on the varsity basketball team. Eli Schofftstall, the youngest of the four brothers and who has been on the Fremd varsity squad since his sophomore year, will be the final one to take the court.

Zach, Luke, Jake and Eli Schoffstall have made a huge mark on Fremd hoops. The group has helped Fremd to 5 regional titles, and an appearance at the state finals.

"It has been great," Fremd coach Bob Widlowski said. "And their Dad (Rick) played at Fremd also. I always joke that I have been at Fremd for 31 years, but I have not coached Mr. Schoffstall."

The Schofftstalls are known throughout the area for their tough and gritty play. While that's loved at Fremd, it is not as well received by fans at other schools. Eli said that he and his brothers would not have it any other way.

"We take pride in that and appreciate that," Eli said. "I like it being that way and having fun with it. But having a good team around us really helps. And ultimately, this is all over in a blink of an eye."

The Schoffstalls have made it over in that same blink in many games in their careers.

Zach began it with some killer 3-pointers during his tenure. Jake knocked down a couple of game-winners in his career against crosstown rival Palatine. Luke nailed a pair of free throws in the closing seconds of overtime to beat Jacobs in a classic Supersectional to send Fremd downstate.

Eli had his own moment last Friday when he drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift Fremd to a stunning 1-point win against Barrington.

"They are gamers," Widlowski said. "They have all been gamers. They have all had their clutch moments at different times in different situations. They all have been rock-solid."

Eli said that competing with his older brothers at home got him ready to play at the higher levels in sports.

"It taught me a lot of things," Eli said. "Just being able to go outside and play anything you can think of and make it a competition. It was really good for me growing up. It taught me lifelong lessons, like working together and learning how to lose. That was a big one for me. Just being able to compete with those guys 24/7 every day was a blessing for me."

Widlowski, who has seen how older siblings can affect the younger ones, said that Eli Schoffstall was ready to play at the varsity level right away.

"Having the big brother always helps, because he has been playing against them for years and learning to hold his own," Widlowski said. I have seen that a lot of times. They have that competitive edge playing against big brothers the whole time. I think that is beneficial in a lot of ways."

Widlowski said the Schoffstall family is always well represented at their games.

"They have been extremely supportive," Widlowski said. "It has been a family affair for the Schoffstalls. Grampa and grandma come to as many games as they can. And the brothers come and support each other as much as they can."

Eli, who helped lead Fremd to a second-place finish in the state in soccer and was named captain of the Daily Herald All-Area team, as was Jake Schoffstall his senior year, is hoping to play college soccer. He has waiting to hear from schools for an opportunity to play.

Until then, it is Fremd hoops, which is off to a 6-1 start. And at each game they play, Widlowski gets the same questions.

I have had coaches come up to me and ask me: 'Is this the last Schoffstall' "? Widlowski said.

"They want to know because they have been doing their job for Fremd for a long time."

Schaumburg Christian's rising star:

One of the area's best players that no one has heard of is Schaumburg Christian's Aaron Onesimus.

The 6-foot-3 senior has been on a scoring binge this season, averaging 34 points per game with highs of 49 points against Christian Heritage and 44 points against Hoffman Estates.

Onesimus already has offers from Olivet Nazarene, which is an NAIA school, and NCAA Division II Nyack College In New York.

"He is a great kid and tremendous leader," Schaumburg Christian coach Kyle McVey said.

"Most of the time he has the ball in his hands. He is scoring a lot of 3s and attacks the basket. He has added that midrange shooting this year, which makes him hard to guard because he can pull up anywhere. He is also our best defender."

Onesimus led the Conquerors to the Northeastern Athletic Conference title last season with an 11-5 mark. He was named the conference's MVP.

This year, Schaumburg Christian is playing a much tougher nonconference schedule with games against Hoffman, Northridge Prep, Neuqua Valley and Conant. The Conquerors are 1-4 this season.

Aaron Onesimus has been a bright spot for the Schaumburg Christian boys basketball team this season. COURTESY OF KENJI AOKI
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