Boys basketball loses close game to crosstown rivals

Zach Kuehn, Staff Writer

The boys basketball team took on their crosstown rivals the Pirates at home on Feb. 6 with a packed house watching. This game was big for the Vikings, as first-place in the Mid-Suburban League Conference was on the line. The Vikings stormed back after trailing in the first half, but ended up coming just short to the Pirates late, losing 53-48.

The game started off a sluggish one for the Vikings, as they were being outworked by Palatine for most of the first half. But the team had good ball control, according to head coach Bob Widlowski, who thought that was a highlight of this game.

“I thought we did a very good job during the game limiting our turnovers,” Widlowski said.

Missed opportunities was the name of the game Friday night, as Fremd missed free throws early in the game that would have been key points to have later on. As the game progressed, it got a little more physical between the two teams and the intensity rose as the game got to the later stages, resulting in a few small scrums late in the game.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Vikings held a five point lead after a big three-pointer from senior Zach Schoffstall, but Fremd turned the ball over five times in the fourth quarter which led to Palatine storming back, going on an eight point run to widen the lead. Widlowski thinks these turnovers have to improve, but the team did do a job stopping key players from the Pirates.

“We did a very good job on Maka Han and Chaney. I think the difference was our turnovers in the fourth quarter where we had a streak of turnovers that they converted on in the 4th quarter,” Widlowski said.

Widlowski says the team feeds off the energy from the crowd, especially for a rivalry game like against Palatine. The crowd became a factor when Schoffstall made a three-pointer late in the game.

“We have a huge crowd, we’ve always had a great rivalry with Palatine. I think it’s a great high school environment to play in for that contest,” Widlowski said.

Widlowski likes where his team is at at this point of the season, with playoffs only a couple weeks away and the team sitting at a 15-5 record.

“Our guys have given a very good effort all year long. We’ve been first place in the conference all season. We want to keep battling for that,” Widlowski said.

This game turned out to be an eye-opener for the Vikings, as they came back the next day and beat a talented Evanston team, 53-49. Widlowski thinks the team made the adjustments they had to for success after the close loss on Friday night.

“I really liked our attitude coming back after the game. We were very excited the next morning. The kids were locked in on the scouting report… and they came out with great attitude and effort against a highly state ranked Evanston team,” Widlowski said.

As the playoffs approach, Fremd still has some important games that will determine where they will be in the standings. The next contest for the Vikings is on Feb. 13 as they take on Barrington at home for a chance to regain the top spot in the MSL Conference.