Boy basketball upsets Conant to take the top conference spot

Tyler Mitzner, Sports Co-Editor

It was the showdown for the MSL West conference for boys basketball. The two top teams in the conference, Conant and Fremd, faced off in the early conference championship game. However, unlike last year Fremd finished the upset to win 48-37 on Friday, Dec. 9.

The key to the victory for the Vikings was hard and smart play. Conant had two 6’9’’ forwards as well as a division one guard in Jimmy Sotos. To counteract that talent and size, Fremd had to play to their style of slower play and force Conant to play into their game.

Head coach Bob Widlowski discusses the little things done to counter Conant’s superior skill and size.

“We controlled the ball,” Widlowski said. “We limited our turnovers, which was key. It allowed us to to play our offense and get more shots.”

However, it wasn’t just fundamentals that allowed the Vikings to prevail. Their stellar defense was prominent in this victory. They held the Cougars to only one basket in the first quarter, they forced a total of 11 turnovers, and they shut down the division one bound Sotos, limiting him to eight points.

Senior guard Shaan Patel sees that the Vikings truly shined on the other side of the court.

“It was one of the best defensive performances in Fremd basketball history,” Patel said. “They came in wanting and thinking that they could score a lot of points on us. We showed them otherwise.”

Defense was key, however the offensive performance was also on point. Senior guard Kyle Sliwa led the Vikings with 15 points, going 3-6 from three point range and perfect from the free throw line. Shaan Patel and junior guard Ryan Martin both had nine while senior forward Brian Dompke contributed eight.

The game was a statement win for the Vikings. Conant was a Top 25 team, and was the favorite to win the MSL West. This victory reveals the Vikings to be true contenders moving forward as they have beaten a legitimate opponent.

Sliwa thinks that this victory helps give the Vikings the strong reputation they deserve.

“It was our first big win,” Sliwa said. “It was our first Top 25 win, and it should put us out there.”

Moving forward, the Vikings seem to be the team to beat as they move to 7-0 on the season, 2-0 in conference. Fremd takes on Schaumburg on Friday, Dec. 16 at home. They look to continue this winning streak as they move into the middle of their schedule.