Fremd's basketball players are taught to assume that every shot a teammate takes is going to be a miss.
And it's not due to a lack of faith in their teammates, but rather to keep them ready to pounce on offensive rebounding opportunities.
That philosophy helped the Vikings in a big way when Fremd sophomore Xavier Williams got a steal in a tie game in double overtime with 19 seconds left.
His contested layup attempt rolled off the rim, but Ben Carlson was there to put in the rebound with 14 seconds left, and that was ultimately the difference in Fremd's 49-48 Mid-Suburban West victory over visiting Barrington.
"Coach always says to think 'miss' on every shot, no matter how it is," Carlson said. "I saw X going, and I knew I had to sprint there as fast as I could to get there in case he missed it."
The Vikings (12-6, 4-2) are sure glad he did as the victory, which was the Comcast Game of the Week, puts them in a three-way tie for first place with Schaumburg and Palatine.
Barrington (12-9, 3-3) had two chances to win the game. After Fremd's Riley Glassmann (game-high 15 points) split a pair of free throws with 57 seconds left in regulation, the Broncos held for the last shot, but couldn't convert a jump shot with 3 seconds left.
And Barrington held the ball for nearly two minutes at the end of the first overtime only to come up empty again.
"The adrenaline kicked in," said Fremd senior Sean Benka of the late defensive stands. "We didn't care how tired we were. Our legs were burning, but we enjoyed it. We had to get those stops to get the 'W.' "
The Broncos employed a similar strategy in the second overtime, holding the ball for over a minute, but Williams' steal thwarted that plan.
After Carlson's putback, Zach Bart (13 points) split a pair at the line before Benka (12 points) knocked down two clutch free throws with 6 seconds left.
"At home in a double overtime game on television, he stepped up and
knocked them down," said Fremd coach Bob Widlowski. "That was a big
difference maker in the way that we defended in the last 15 seconds."
The 3-point lead meant Fremd closely defended the arc and allowed Brad Zaumseil (14 points, 9 rebounds) a layup with one second left to set the final margin.
"We thought we got two really good opportunities," said Barrington coach Bryan Tucker. "We just had a tough time in the second overtime at the end."
And it was fitting that a game for first place in the West would feature 6 ties and 13 lead changes.
"We talked all week that it would be a possession game," Widlowski said. "We talked about valuing possessions in the first quarter equally to possessions in the fourth quarter. We had a good mindset and stayed composed down the stretch."