Fremd's 45-34 over win over Conant on Wednesday night wasn't easy -- but then, the host Vikings knew it wouldn't be.
"Conant always gives everyone its best shot," said Vikings senior forward Erica Simios, who had a few big shots herself, one a layup midway through the fourth quarter when Conant was threatening to take the game down to the wire.
Instead, Simios' layup made it 39-32 and the Vikings were able to pull away for their 19th win in 21 games.
The No. 4-ranked team in Class 4A improved to 7-0 in the Mid-Suburban West; Conant is 4-3 with a 14-9 overall record.
"We gave it a good shot," said Conant coach Dan Travers, whose team led 12-9 after one quarter and trailed 26-20 at intermission. "If you want to beat a good team, you can't make mistakes. We had too many turnovers in the first half.
"But I'm proud of my girls. We are getting better. At this time of the season, that's all you can ask for. So that's a compliment to the girls."
Travers also complimented the game's top scorer, junior Haley Gorecki, who tossed in 25 points with three 3-pointers, 7 rebounds and nifty assists for fourth-quarter layups by Brianna Lewis and Simios.
"We were really focusing on playing fundamental basketball," said Simios, who finished with 6 points. "And we just tried to keep playing hard to the end."
Alyssa Wachal's 6-footer got Conant to within 39-34 with 3:40 left before Fremd closed the game with a 6-0 run with the layup by Lewis and two buckets by Gorecki.
"You've got to give Haley Gorecki credit," Travers said. "She is one heck of a player. You can tell that she works hard on her basketball skills in the off-season.
"We worked hard against her. We put a couple of people on her but she still got her points. She's just an outstanding player."
A layup by Dee Dee Durr with a second left in the first quarter gave Conant its 12-9 lead.
Gorecki started the second quarter with a 3-pointer, a driving 10-footer and a fastbreak layup of an assist from Lewis to put the Vikes ahead for good at 16-12.
"But we could never pull away," said Vikings coach Dave Yates. "We'd get to 7 or 8 points ahead, but could never get it to 14 or 15.
"That's a credit to Dan Travers. It's his last season and he is a great coach. His teams are well coached."
Two free throws by sophomore Bryana Hopkins gave Fremd an 8-point lead with 6:18 left in the third quarter but Lexi Zades answered with a 3-pointer to cut the deficit back to 5 points.
Gorecki came right back with a 3-pointer and she hit another one late in the period to keep the Fremd lead at 8 points.
"We got caught up in a game we didn't want to," Yates said. "It turned into a possession basketball game. There were just a lot of little things that we didn't do and again, that's a credit to Conant."
The Cougars were led by sophomore forward Haley Anderson (12 points), Zades (8 points, two 3-pointers) and Katie Lomas, who scored 6 points off the bench.
"We got good bench play from Katie," Travers said. "I thought Haley did a good job on the boards and scoring inside. Nireet Dhillon did a good job running the offense and Sarah Mazurek gave us a great effort on the defensive end. Lexi Zades hit a couple of big 3s for us. Jori Wachal gave us rebounding, ballhandling and shooting when she came into the game.
"We just need a little more patiet at times and to be able score in the half-court offense."