Fremd notches convincing win in battle of last two state champs
The last official Class 4A state champions took the floor for a late-afternoon game of the Chicagoland Invitational Showcase on Saturday at Fremd High School.
When it was over, 2020 champion Fremd maintained its perfect record with a 70-43 wire-to-wire triumph over defending state champion Stevenson. There was no state tournament played in 2021 due to COVID-19.
Sophomores Ella Todd (18 points) and Coco Urlacher (16 with 10-of-11 free throws) led the Vikings (8-0) while classmate Ellie Thompson, senior Nikki Gonnella, junior Brynn Eshoo and senior Kace Urlacher each had 6 points.
It was Fremd's fourth game scoring 70 or more points.
"We're deep and talented," said Fremd coach Dave Yates. "And I hope that was on display out there. It's not our first five. We go nine or 10 deep with kids who can play. So that's the exciting part."
Todd also grabbed a team-high 9 rebounds while Eshoo and Coco Urlacher had 6 apiece and Maddy Fay 5.
"We've been getting a lot better at working as a team and playing together," said Todd, the Vikings' 'Player of the Game.' "The more we do that, the better we get, We have a ton of talent on this team and if we share that well, then we'll be really good."
The Vikings were really good on Saturday, building a 9-0 lead in the game's first three minutes. They got a rebound layup by Fay, a 3-pointer from Todd from the top of the key, a layup by Kace Urlacher and a 17-footer by Todd with 5:16 left.
Fremd, which never let the Patriots closer (4-3) than 6 points the rest of the way, led 18-9 after one quarter, thanks to a 3-point play by Coco Urlacher (4 steals) and a free throw by Todd with 46.9 seconds left.
Fremd took its biggest lead of the half at 27-12 on two free throws by Coco Urlacher.
A 3-pointer by sophomore Nisha Musunuri and a steal and layup by junior Kendell Williams got the Pats to within 27-17 before Fremd finished the half with a free throw by Gonella (2 assists) and a 17-footer by Eshoo (2 assists).
Senior Kate Arne's left-handed driving bank shot got the Pats within 32-23 with 5:25 left in the third quarter. But the Pats would never get to within double digits again after a 3-pointer by Todd made it 35-23.
Junior Isabella Zavilla made 5 of 6 free throws in the fourth quarter and had 2 assists for the winners.
Arne was the 'Player of the Game' for Stevenson, scoring 16 points while Musunuri added 11 and Emily Klatt 9, all in the second half.
"Fremd fills the stat book with multiple kids so they have a lot of threats," said Stevenson coach Ashley Graham. "We've got to be ready to go defensively but we made some mistakes there. Offensively, I felt we left far too many points out there with free throws (6-of-12) and missing easy buckets.
"But we'll get better. We will continue to work. It's great to play great teams and Fremd is a great team. which is very well coached. We'll get back in the gym and as I always tell our kids, when your backs are against the wall, you have to fight back. And we'll certainly do that this week."