Hirsch, Cox lead Fremd over Conant

Fremd pulled away in the last two minutes of the game to beat Conant 70-59 in Vikings coach Bob Widlowski’s last home conference game Friday night.

With the win Fremd secured third place in the Mid-Suburban West and will play Buffalo Grove Tuesday night in Widlowski's final home game.

Junior Sam Hirsch and senior guard Ryan Cox were forces down the stretch as Fremd improved to 16-8 and 6-4 in conference play.

Hirsch would score a career-high of 23 points and Cox with another steady performance would score 19. Sophomore Jordan Williams added 12 points and 6 rebounds.

"My teammates were able to find me open and I was able to knock down five 3's," said Hirsch. "Coach has really instilled confidence in not just me but in all the players. He wants to play aggressive. We stayed consistent on offense and defense."

Conant's Yusuf Cisse converted a three-point play with 2:48 left to cut Fremd’s lead to 58-56. Cisse would finish with 12 points.

Cox drove the lane and scored with 2:08 left for a 60-56 lead. A turnover on the inbound pass by Conant (14-11, 5-5) saw Hirsch connect on a 3-point basket to increase the lead to 63-56 with 1:58 left.

Conant missed their next two shots and was forced to foul.

Cox hit two free throws as did Hirsch to build a 67-56 lead with less than a minute to go and the Cougars could not recover.

"Cox and Hirsch played really well for us'," said Widlowski. "They came up with big plays in the fourth quarter. Lathos was really hot for them in the third quarter so we tried rotating different defensive players on him and it seemed to work. I was very proud of our players tonight."

"I think we scored enough points to win this game but we didn't have our best defensive effort," said Conant coach Matt Walsh. "I thought that Fremd was tougher than we were and deserved to win the game."

Conant opened a 10-3 lead but Fremd recovered and went on a 20-4 run to build a 23-14 lead. Camden Lathos, who would lead Conant with 20 points and 5 rebounds, hit a three-point basket at the buzzer to cut the lead to 23-17.

Trailing 28-26 with 4:45 left in the second quarter, the Cougars were outscored 7-0 to end the quarter which saw Fremd lead 35-26.

Lathos caught fire in the third quarter scoring Conant's first 9 points. That surge helped the Cougars cut the lead to 51-50 when Nate Hahn (9 points) hit a three-point basket with :02 left in the quarter.

That set the stage for a dramatic fourth quarter.

"These games with Conant a lot of times come down to the wire," said Cox. "Coach tells us to play your best basketball in February to get ready for the playoffs. We have been doing that lately. I was the only returning starter from last year so I felt I had to lead this team."

" Bob is first class all the way," said Walsh. "He's a great coach."

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