Girls basketball: Fremd's Yates closes in on 400th win

Fremd's Dave Yates was coaching in his 18th home opener on Wednesday night in Palatine.

And like so many games in his ultrasuccessful career, the Vikings came out on top.

Yates moved to within one win of 400 as the Vikings got past Mother McAuley, 57-44, in the second round of the Hampshire tourney.

Only a select few MSL girls basketball coaches have reached that milestone. One of them is his predecessor, Hall of Famer Carol Plodzien, who won 558 games in 33 seasons as the only other coach in program history.

The others to reach 400 at one MSL program are Tom Dineen (Buffalo Grove), Mary Fendley (Hersey) and Babbi Barreiro (Barrington).

"I've been very fortunate to coach a lot of good players," said Yates, who is 399-130. "And I've had longevity which I appreciate even more these days."

One of those 'good' players is current junior guard and Utah pledge Ella Todd, who led a balanced Fremd offense with 13 points. Portland recruit and senior Brynn Eshoo added 12 points (6 of 7 free throws) followed by sophomore Greta Thompson (11 points) and junior Ellie Thompson (10). Junior Coco Urlacher chipped in 6 with some big hustle rebounds.

"He (Yates) does a lot for each of us and the team," Todd said. "The amount of time he puts into us is kind of crazy. I think he just knows how to make us better and he's a lot of fun to play for."

Fremd (2-0) made its biggest first-half move in the final two minutes of the first quarter.

Trailing 10-5, the Vikes finished on a 9-0 run, beginning with Eshoo's inside bucket with 1:38 left.

Then, in the final minutes, Greta Thompson fired home a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left to tie it at 10. Thompson then scored on a layup off a turnover seven seconds later to make it 12-10 before Eshoo came right back with a steal and layup with 31.6 seconds for a 14-10 lead after one period.

Fremd enjoyed its biggest leads of the half at 19-12 (Urlacher's nifty 12-footer from the baseline) and 21-14 (driving layup by Ella Todd).

Maeve Egan's 3-pointer with 25 seconds left got McAuley to within 24-20 at the break.

Greta Thompson's 3-pointer and Eshoo's 17-footer near the top of the key in the final minute gave Fremd its biggest lead of the third quarter at 44-32.

"They're a good team, and they've got kids who can shoot it," Yates said. "They're a tough matchup because they can spread it out and drive on you. We had some good runs but we kind of had a poor ending to the second quarter. But I thought we played much better in the third and fourth quarters."

Todd opened up the fourth period with her team's first 6 points, getting a 3-pointer, driving layup and 14-footer to make it 51-35 with 3:01 left.

"I think we started playing together more in the second half," she added. "We started moving the ball and we were taking smarter shots. We just needed to turn the ball over less."

Sophomore Quinn Arundel led McAuley with a game-high 19 points and four 3-pointers.

Egan (13 points) and Morgan Feil (10) played on McAuley's volleyball team which won the state crown on Saturday night. They were both in the starting lineup Wednesday and Monday night when the Mighty Macs opened the Hampshire tourney with a win.

"They were big starters for us last year," said McAuley coach Curtis Lewis. "They're not in full basketball shape yet so it will take a little while.

"Fremd is a good team. I think the strength they pose is that they have a ton of length, including a 6-foot point guard (Todd). But to be honest, I don't think it bothered us too much. We haven't seen that kind of length, even last season, so that can make a difference in the game."

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