Long on defense, cool under pressure and strong around the basket.
That all combines to make Fremd a formidable girls varsity basketball team, as the Vikings showed a game Conant team Friday in a 56-40 Mid-Suburban West win on the Cougars' floor.
After struggling to guard Conant in the first half and trailing at intermission for only the second time this season, Fremd asserted itself in the third quarter, surged ahead on its ability to force turnovers and maintained its intensity to the final horn.
"We had to stop fouling them," said Fremd coach Dave Yates. "There was no flow to the game," because of that.
Trapping in the halfcourt helped, too, as Conant had trouble passing let alone shooting over the long arms of Fremd's Haley Gorecki, Bryana Hopkins, Grace Tworek and Erica Simios, all 6-footers or better.
"It's difficult to shoot over us," said Yates.
The Vikings (7-1, 2-0) outscored Conant 17-6 in the third quarter and Gorecki got it started with 2 free throws off a slick drive and a hoop off another.
"We came out with more focus in the second half," said the 6-foot junior.
Hopkins was the beneficiary of a Briana Lewis assist as the lightning-quick 5-2 sophomore point guard added a basket on a drive and another on a runner to close the quarter off of Conant turnovers.
"Haley and both my 'Brees' stepped up in the third quarter," said Yates.
Gorecki finished with 17 points, Hopkins with 14 and Lewis with 10. They kept up the pressure on both ends in the fourth quarter, too.
"They make you play perfect," to beat them, that is, said Conant coach Dan Travers after his team committed 24 turnovers. But they out-rebounded the taller Vikes in the first half and hit 3-of-6 3-pointers and 6-of-7 free throws in building a 22-20 lead.
"That's a tribute to the girls," said Travers.
Dee Dee Durr (9 points), and Lexi Zades (9) combined for a trio of 3-pointers in the first half while Haley Anderson and Alissa Wachal battled hard on the boards. Nireet Dhillon led Conant (4-5, 1-1) with 11 on perfect free throw shooting.
But Fremd's height on the boards and length on defense came together in the second half as the team that starts three underclassmen and comes off the bench with a tall freshman and two even-taller sophomores just wore down the Cougars.
"We keep growing up," said Yates. "That's the sign of a good team."
But with all that youthful height, Gorecki couldn't resist the metaphor.
"It'll definitely be a growing year," she said, "because we're so young."