Cook County girls basketball notes: Urlacher sisters key to Fremd's fast start

With just one loss in 16 games, Fremd's girls basketball team has clearly shown it is a top contender when it comes to the Class 4A state playoffs.

The Vikings, who took second in one of the toughest Christmas tournaments in the state (Morton College Tourney in Cicero), have plenty of players who will move on to play college basketball, including senior Kace Urlacher, who has committed to IUPUI (Indiana University/Purdue University in Indianapolis).

It's a special season for Kace because she is playing on the same high school team with her sophomore sister Coco, who was on the junior varsity last winter.

"It's different but it's a lot of fun," said Kace, who plans to major in sports management. "She (Coco) has the same playing style as I do. So when I get going, she gets going or vice versa. It's fun. I'm going to miss playing with her next year especially because this was our only time in high school."

It's been quite a great time in high school, though, playing for a team that has been ranked as high as No. 2 in the state poll and No. 1 in the Daily Herald poll.

"It's good to be a good team," said Coco, already making a big impact in her first varsity season. "Rankings are always important but obviously when you get on the floor that's the most important thing."

And Coco gets this one season to be on the floor with her sister.

"It's exciting," she said. "I tried to work so hard to get to this position right now and to be playing with my sister on a good team. I take a lot of inspiration from Kace. Of course, she is always so supportive of me and she is basically one of my idols. She is so supportive and she always helps me out whenever I need help."

Fremd coach Dave Yates also says their playing styles are similar and their energy feeds off one another.

"I feel like we do play alike," said Coco, who plans to study criminal justice with hopes of working in the FBI field.

Like her sister, Coco loves working hard on defense.

"I went to a middle school (Immanuel Lutheran in {Palatine) where defense was really, really important," Coco said. "So I would probably say defense is my favorite part of the game because that also created offense."

And what is one of the best benefits of the Urlachers on the same team this winter?

"It's a lot less stressful for our mother," Kace said. "Because she doesn't have to go to two different games."

Instead she can watch them both, going up against some of the state's top-ranked teams, due to the Vikes' tough schedule.

In fact, going against an undefeated Kenwood team at the Exam Jamm last month, Kace's energetic defense was prominent as the Vikings rallied from a 33-18 halftime deficit.

The game was tied at 47 when Kace Urlacher (13 points) and Coco combined to score the game's final 6 points in the last 1:04.

"Kace took over the fourth quarter of the Kenwood game," Yates said. "She made a defensive play on about every possession that helped change the outcome of our game."

The Urlacher sisters have certainly made their impact on many outcomes for the talented Vikings.

"They create chaos on the defensive end of the floor," Yates said. "Their ability to anticipate your next move is as good as I have coached in my time here at Fremd. They jump passing lanes, strip ballhandlers, and generally make our defense go. They play with a grit that the rest of our team feeds off."

South success:

December was quite a month for Maine South.

On Dec 16, coach Jeff Hamann steered the Hawks to their 900th win in program history with a 61-42 victory over Glenbrook North.

Then on Dec 29, Hamann guided the Hawks to the championship of the prestigious Komaromy Classic Dundee-Crown with an exciting 59-58 victory over Barrington, the 2022 Class 4A state runner-up.

Hamann is the fourth coach in program history, following Chris Voelz (54-18 from 1972 to 1978), hall of famer Mike Deines (475-288 from 1978 to 2005) and Mark Smith (281-152 from 2005 to 2018).

Since taking over in 2018, Hamann's record stands at 95-53 as the Hawks have won 13 of their 16 games this year.

MSL talent:

The Morton Holiday Tournament featured many of the top players in the state.

So it was quite impressive when the Mid-Suburban League placed three girls on the first team which included only five players.

Fremd's Maddy Fay and Ella Todd along with Hersey's Katy Eidle joined Benet's Lenee Beaumont and Geneva's Cassidy Arni on that elite group of five.

D-C's finest:

Here's the local all-tourney selection from the Komaromy Classic at Dundee Crown: Sophia Swanson, Gwen Ajdler and Molly O'Riordan of Barrington, Meegan Fahy, Katie Barker and Ally Pape of Maine South and Jaclyn Riedl of Maine West.

Saxons' first:

For the first time in coach Jacqie Strauch eight seasons, No. 6 seeded Schaumburg (10-8) made it to the title game of the Bill Neibch Falcon Classic at Wheaton North.

The Saxons got there by winning their semifinal game 62-60 in overtime over Waubonsie Valley as Madi Dolecki (20 points, 9 rebounds), Grace Schluckbier (15 points, 6 rebounds), Jada Branch (13 points, 5 assists), Symone Harrell (12 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists), Emma Jevtic (2 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists) and Audrey Schluckbier (4 rebounds, 3 assists) led the way.

Dolecki and Branch were named to the all-tourney team.

Nice honor:

Hall of Fame coach Joe Komaromy, for whom the D-C Charger Classic is named for, made a special presentation to Barrington 30-year veteran coach and hall of famer Babbi Barreiro at the tourney last week.

Barreiro was honored by Komaromy for her contributions to the tourney and to girls basketball for the past four decades.

Barrerio led the Fillies to second place in last year's Class 4A state finals and has won nearly 500 games in her career.

Coach Kipp Hoopsfest:

The 33rd annual Coach Kipp Hoopfest will be held Jan, 14 and 16 at Montini High School (14th) and Benet High School (16th).

Tourney director Jim O'Boye believes this year's event is the best ever with three defending state champions, nearly 36 DI recruits and four teams from Indiana.

The Jan. 14 schedule has been announced: Mother McAuley vs Maine West 9:30 a.m., Marist vs. Sandburg 11 a.m., Lincoln Way West vs Oak Forest 12:30 p.m., Sycamore Vs. Joliet West 2 p.m., Plainfield North vs Willowbrook, 3:30 p.m., York vs St. Ignatius, 5 p.m., Geneva Vs Montini, 6:30 p.m., Lake Zurich vs Glenbrook South 8 p.m.

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