Once Fremd got back on course, there was no stopping the Vikings in their Mid-Suburban West boys basketball opener Friday against Palatine in the second half of a boys-girls doubleheader. The atmosphere was one befitting the crosstown rivalry.
Fremd (3-2, 1-0) went on a 13-2 run to close out the first quarter, erasing an 8-3 deficit, and led 16-10 after the first quarter. The lead stayed between 4 and 12 points throughout the rest of the contest, and the Vikings prevailed 48-40.
Ben Carlson scored 7 of his team-high 11 points in the first quarter, and Xavier Williams came off the bench to score 5 of his 9 points during that run, including a 3-pointer that got the Vikings going.
"The effort has been really good," Carlson said. "We learned a lesson against Proviso West. Our bench played great, and everyone played well."
"Ben played solid and did a nice job on Baldus," Fremd coach Bob Widlowski said. "He has worked very hard in the offseason and became a complete ballplayer. He really committed himself to improving.
"Once we settled in after 8-3, we played well the rest of the way," Widlowski said. "We did a real nice job on (Roosevelt) Smart. Michael Krupa, Sean Benka and Xavier limited his looks.
"And Carlson did a nice job holding (Josh) Baldus to 7 points."
Smart, a 6-2 sophomore, led all scorers with 13 points, but he was under defensive pressure the entire game.
"We wanted to frustrate him and make him take difficult shots," Carlson said.
Fremd led 28-20 at halftime and 36-28 after three quarters. The Pirates (2-3, 0-1) cut the lead to 4 three times in the second quarter, the last time coming on Baldus' first basket of the game with 4:02 left.
Fremd stretched its lead to 12 several times in the second half, and the Vikings made 6 of 12 free throws in the final 2:54 to ice the victory.
"They play the right way," said Palatine coach Eric Millstone. "They're fundamentally sound, they share the ball, and they defend.
"Everything Fremd did well, we have to draw from that and do the same things," Millstone said.
Fremd's depth proved to be a strength against Palatine. All four reserves who played contributed on both ends of the floor, outscoring Palatine's bench 18-8.
"I was very pleased with the bench play," Widlowski said. "(Garrett) Groot, (Tom) Cordell, (Matt) Ochoa and Xavier played well. Our bench guys came in and did a great job for us."
Riley Glassmann scored 10 points for the Vikings, and Chris Macahon scored 9 for Palatine.