Girls basketball defeats Buffalo Grove to advance to the sectional final

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Graphic by Scott Lenz

Scott Lenz, Sports Editor

After a slow start, the girls basketball team rallied to beat Buffalo Grove in the class 4A sectional semifinals on Feb. 23. Led by senior Haley Gorecki, juniors Brianna Lewis and Bryana Hopkins, and sophomore Grace Tworek, Fremd ended the game with an impressive win over Buffalo Grove with a final score of 63-47.

Buffalo Grove presented a tough opposition for the Vikings, pitting Fremd’s size against the Bison’s speed. Head coach Dave Yates highlights how the Vikes moved some players around defensively to better cover the opposing shooters.

“The hardest challenge was that their post players are really guards. Right away they started hitting some threes,” Yates said. “After the first three minutes, we made some adjustments and switched up a few match ups and things calmed down a little.”

The Vikings fell behind 7-2 at the start of the first quarter before finding their rhythm to finish the quarter with a 19-11 lead over the Bison. Gorecki, who scored a game high 13 points for the Vikes, emphasizes the team’s success in surmounting their slow start by coming together and playing as a collective unit both on offense and defense.

“We didn’t really come out strong in the first quarter but we regrouped and played well for the rest of the game,” Gorecki said.

Fremd capitalized on their opportunities from the free throw line. Yates credits the importance of converting foul shots to the team’s win.

“One of our keys every game is to get to the rim. Getting to the foul line sets up a lot of good things for us,” Yates said. “Once you get to the foul line you can press so it’s always positive.”

Coming out of halftime down 20-36, Buffalo Grove changed their strategy on defense, double teaming Vikings players at the top of the key. Lewis describes how the Vikings quickly found the undefended player to exploit the Bison’s defensive adjustment.

“We just had to slow down, bring the ball out, and find the open player,” Lewis said. “If we get doubled and we try to dribble to them we’ll get trapped all day.”

Buffalo Grove, a team that’s known for their shooting abilities, was held to just nine points in the second quarter. Gorecki explains that Fremd’s preparation aided them in reducing their opponent’s offensive opportunities.

“They knocked down a lot of good shots. We knew through the scouting report that they were going to shoot,” Gorecki said. “We came out, played good defense and got stops.”

With the win Fremd advances onto the sectional final and Yates knows Fremd will need to make sure they play hard for the entire game to move onto state.

“That was a pretty good performance tonight but I think we can improve upon our consistency. There were a couple moments where we let up a little bit,” Yates said.  “That little blurb at the end of the third quarter, we kind of lost our focus. We need to remain focused because we’re not going to have this big a cushion every game.”

Part of the Vikings’ continued success can be attributed to their strong senior leadership, especially from Gorecki. Lewis thinks that the team relies upon their experienced players in tough games.

“Senior leadership is very important to the success of our team,” Lewis said. “Our seniors bring a lot of energy and we feed off of it.”

Yates wants his team to devote their full attention to each competition as they move forward to the sectional final and beyond.

“Our mentality is to make sure we focus on each game and playing our best each game,” Yates said. “The minute you start looking ahead that’s when you’re in trouble.”

The Vikings take on Hersey on Feb. 26 in the sectional championship.