Fremd holds off fourth-quarter rally by Schaumburg in key MSL West game

Trailing by as many as 18 points in the second quarter to state power Fremd, Schaumburg's girls basketball team closed to within 7 points on a layup by senior Symone Harrell with 5:43 left in the game.

But the host Vikings went into defensive lockdown mode and did not allow another point, closing the game on a 6-0 run to take a 49-36 win over the Mid-Suburban West defending champs.

"I think there's a lot to clean up and that's what we talked about after the game," said Vikings junior Ella Todd, who scored a game-high 18 points. "But that might have been our best finish of the season. We really started taking care of the ball more at the end and we did what we had to do to finish the game."

The Vikings' final 6 points came on junior Ellie Thompson's drive through the lane for a layup and then four straight free throws from Todd, who was 7 of 8 from the line with 5 field goals, including one 3-pointer.

"I'm really proud of us for how we ended the game," added Todd, a Utah recruit. "We know Schaumburg is usually a really aggressive team and they come after us really hard. We just told ourselves we really had to be composed and had to keep playing our game."

Fremd coach Dave Yates, who found out earlier in the week he will be inducted into the IBCA basketball hall of fame, was just as proud of the Vikings' finish.

"I was proud of the end of the game," Yates said. "I thought we did a nice job of rebuilding the ball and controlling the end of the game."

The Vikings (9-1, 2-0) also received double-figure scoring from junior Ellie Thompson (11 points), who hit three 3-pointers in the game's first 13 minutes. She was followed in the scoring by senior teammate Brynn Eshoo (9 points), senior Isabelle Zavilla (8) and sophomore Great Thompson (3), whose 3-pointer gave the Vikes a 19-7 lead after one quarter.

Zavillla's rebound bank shot with 6:20 left in the second quarter gave Fremd its biggest lead at 25-7.

"I think their shooting percentage in that first half was much higher than the second half," said nine-year Schaumburg coach Jacqie Strauch, who has the Saxons (8-2, 1-1) off to their best start since 2007. "A couple of those shots gave them an additional lead that we could only do so much with. I think that's the best I've seen my kids play against Fremd. I'm so proud of them."

Senior Grace Schluckblier led Schaumburg with 11 points, followed by classmates Madi Dolecki (9), Harrell (6) and Emma Jevtic (4). Jadaya Branch had a 3-pointer late in the first half and Audrey Schluckbier had a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 10.

"I'm proud of our girls," Strauch added. "There is no doubt it is hard to play Fremd in this gym but I think we showed a little bit of play that I hope people recognize in our kids. I appreciate being their coach and the effort they gave today. We get to see Fremd again and it will be at home."

Strauch didn't have the 6-foot senior Jevtic or Dolecki for the stretch drive. The coach said Jevtic suffered a concussion and Dolecki an ankle injury.

"We were down Emma and Madi at the end and I thought Ellianna (Malley) stepped up well for us," Strauch said. "I'm proud of our girls. There is no doubt it is hard to play Fremd in this gym, but I think we showed a little bit of play that I hope people recognize in our kids. I appreciate the effort they gave today and being their coach. We get to see Fremd again and it will be at home."

"Schaumburg is tremendously improved from last year and our kids were well aware of that," Yates added. "I thought they (Schaumburg) gave us a good shot and I was proud of our kids just because we've been battling illnesses left and right this season."

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