Girls basketball finishes undefeated conference season with win over Palatine

Scott Lenz, Sports Editor

The Fremd girls basketball team finished its undefeated Mid-Suburban League West season with a win over crosstown rival Palatine on Feb. 6. The Vikings dominated the Pirates 68-33 for their 28th straight conference win, moving them to 10-0 in the MSL West this season.

Head coach Dave Yates highlights the importance of finishing the season with a win over Palatine.

“Our players are pretty proud that they’ve dominated the West,” Yates said. “Plus, they’re playing against their friends, the girls they played against in feeder and park district, so I think anytime you beat one of your rivals that’s something they enjoy doing.”

Junior guard Julia Wacker, who scored ten points against the Pirates, describes the team’s takeaway from the conference win.

“A big thing we’ve been working on all year is communication, which we still need to improve upon,” Wacker said. “Other than that I feel like it was a pretty good game all around.”

The Vikings spread the ball around with senior Haley Gorecki (18 points), and juniors Bryana Hopkins (13 points), Brianna Lewis (12 points), and Wacker (10 points) combining for 53 of the team’s 68 points. Yates emphasizes the importance of having more than one or two players scoring a majority of Fremd’s points.

“Teams could look to those players and say that you have to stop those two players. Palatine went box and one against us, they went triangle and two against us and other players just scored right away,” Yates said. “When people do those things to you and you score right away they don’t stick with those defenses. That’s been a good thing about this team – it’s deep and there are a lot of scoring options.”

Fremd finishes the season with a 22-4 record, with two of those losses coming against top national competition. Wacker contributes part of their overall success throughout the season to playing teams from across the country.

“We got to see a lot of good teams and we played teams with different styles than we have, so we’ve been able to work on different things that we saw we needed to improve upon,” Wacker said. “The high level of competition was very important for our team.”

Currently ranked third in state, the Vikings are constantly looking to improve their skills, both individually and as a team. With a tough road ahead, Yates wants to make sure that they focus on refining their weaknesses.

“I would say our largest area for improvement is consistency, the hard part is that when you beat people by a lot of points you have a tendency to lose focus and not do little things correctly,” Yates said. “So that’s what we’re going to be hammering them on for the next week or two, making sure we’re boxing people out and doing the things we want to do defensively.”

After reaching the 4A Sectional finals last year, Fremd looks to move past their previous mark of success this season. Yates knows that the Vikings have the ability to make a run at the state title, but he doesn’t want the team to look too far ahead.

“Our goal is to get as far as we can in the state tournament,” Yates said. “You have to take it one game at a time and we’ve expressed upon our players that you have to keep getting better every game and every practice. If we have that mindset then the rest will take care of itself.”

The Vikes take on Prospect (24-1) in the Mid-Suburban League Championship game at Prospect’s Jean Walker Field House on Feb. 11.