Most teenagers use cellphones and social media to send messages. The Fremd boys basketball team used smothering defense to deliver theirs Saturday.
"We wanted to make a statement and prove that we can beat some of the best teams in the area," junior guard Riley Glassmann said after the Vikings thumped previously undefeated Dundee-Crown 49-31 in Carpentersville. "We just wanted to come out and play Fremd defense and get a win."
The unranked Vikings played 32 minutes of tremendous defense, highlighted by a seven-minute span in the first half during which they held Dundee-Crown -- the No. 7 team in the Daily Herald Top 20 -- to a lone a basket. They limited the Chargers to 4 points in each of the middle quarters and bulged their lead to as much as 26 points in the fourth quarter. D-C's 31 points represented its lowest output since a 51-31 loss to Crystal Lake South on Feb. 15, 2011.
Fremd (6-2) held a distinct height advantage. Coach Bob Widlowski usually had at least four players on the floor who stand 6-foot-5 or 6-4. Such length helped the Vikings deflect multiple passes and poke the ball away with regularity from the shorter Chargers, which translated to multiple fast-break opportunities.
"They just manhandled us," Dundee-Crown coach Lance Huber said. "It was men against boys and the men won."
Fremd caused 10 Dundee-Crown turnovers in a 10-minute span bridging the first and second quarters, turning an 8-7 lead into a 29-13 halftime advantage.
"It was real frustrating," said D-C senior guard JT Beasley, who led all scorers with 12 points. "We couldn't take care of the ball. I don't know what it was. They're pretty big and pretty strong. We came out slow. We weren't expecting it, though we talked about them being big all week."
The Fremd takeover began with a 9-2 run to end the first quarter, capped by banked-in 3-pointer from 6-foot-5 junior Ben Carlson. The Vikings forced 7 D-C turnovers in the second period, converting 5 straight into points.
Dundee-Crown had trouble getting shots period. The Chargers attempted only 3 in the second quarter, 2 of which were forced. Beasley, and fellow seniors Brandon Rodriguez and Dylan Kissack normally combine to average 35 points, but Rodriguez was held to 5 points and Kissack was held scoreless.
"We really focused on them this week," Widlowski said of Rodriguez and Kissack. "We had a day to prepare coming off our conference game. I thought Sean Benka, Xavier Williams and Michael Krupa did a real nice job keying on those guys and limiting their easy looks."
"I'm thinking we were a little complacent coming in with our undefeated record," Rodriguez said. "They are a pretty fundamental team and they gave it to us on defense. We weren't able to do much."
Glassmann led the Vikings with 11 points, Carlson finished with 9 and Benka added 8. Nine of the 17 players on the Fremd roster scored and all played.
"I thought that was the best we've played so far," Widlowski said. "I think that shows our level of improvement from Thanksgiving until now. We'd like to play like we did in the first quarter all the time."