Fremd tops host Wheeling in opening round of Hardwood Classic

It took quite a while for the Fremd boys basketball team to get going Wednesday night in the opening round of the Hardwood Classic at Wheeling.

But once they did, the Vikings were pretty impressive as they outscored the host Wildcats 18-11 in the third quarter to take a 39-27 lead into the final quarter.

From there, Fremd (8-4) built its biggest lead of the game at 48-29 on a basket off a steal by Erik Stanson before rolling to a 60-39 victory over Wheeling.

Sophomore Jordan Williams (9 rebounds) had a big second half for the Vikings with 14 of his team-high 18 points in the second half as Fremd will play St. Viator or Streamwood in the quarterfinals Thursday at 8:45 p.m.

"We didn't come out shooting the ball as well we have lately, but we got the ball to Jordan (Williams) in the second half and he really opened things up for us," said Fremd coach Bob Widlowski, who is in his 21st and final season as the Vikings coach.

"I thought he (Williams) had a really nice second half, and we were making a decided effort to get him the ball. I thought he stepped up for us when we didn't have our best offensive night and we needed him."

Besides Williams, Fremd's Daniel Ko hit double figures with 11 points as did teammate Ryan Cox with 10 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Samuel Hirsch and Rafael Pinto scored 6 points each for the Vikings.

"The first half was quite rough for us, and during halftime the main focus was to get the ball to the middle to break the 1-3-1 zone," said Williams, whose team led 21-16 at halftime. "We've just got to improve, watch our film from the first game, improve our mistakes and move on."

Wheeling's Brent Collar scored 13 of his game-high 22 points in the second half. But other than that the Wildcats did not have enough offensive firepower with teammates Pawel Rakoczy (6 rebounds) and Zach Neukirch chipping in 5 points apiece.

"They (Fremd) got the ball inside more and got easier looks in the second half,“ said Wheeling coach Tom Antosz. "Fremd is a great team. I thought we competed really hard. Ultimately they were the better team tonight, and we're going to continue to work, get better and prepare for tomorrow."

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