Matt Ochoa knows how to slice things.
The Fremd senior, who works at the local Jewel deli when he is not in school or studying, scored 18 points to help the host Vikings deliver a 52-38 victory over crosstown rival Palatine on Friday.
So the 6-foot-6 Ochoa, who did not play in the teams' earlier meeting because of a concussion, was able to use his size on the low post to carve up Palatine.
"I really wanted to come out and play hard against these guys because I know most of them," Ochoa said. "It killed me to be on the bench for our last game. It was a fun time playing them."
Fremd coach Bob Widlowski thought Ochoa took full advantage of his size against the Pirates.
"He (Ochoa) was a force out there tonight," Widlowski said. "He played a well-rounded game on both ends of the floor."
Palatine (10-13, 1-7) which did not score a point in the first quarter in the teams last meeting, changed that Friday. Led by Chris Macahon (11 points), the Pirates dropped in their first four 3-point attempts to build a 16-9 lead with 2:20 left in the first quarter.
Fremd (19-0, 8-0) then turned to its defense, which has been one of the best in the state. The Vikings began to close in on the Palatine shooters, as the Pirates missed their next 7 shots and turned the ball over once.
Meanwhile, on the offensive end, the Vikings ran off 9 unanswered points as part of an 18-2 run to take the lead at 24-18 with 4:43 left in the first half on a putback by Ochoa.
Riley Glassmann (11 points) and Conner Peters each chipped in 5 points during that run.
"We gave up some open looks early and they knocked them down," Widlowski said. "I thought Palatine came out ready to play. But our defense was able to pick up their intensity."
Fremd led 30-23 at the half and 37-25 with 5:38 left in the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Xavier Williams. Palatine then turned up its defensive pressure, keeping the Vikings off the board for the next seven minutes.
But Palatine couldn't take full advantage during that span, scoring just 6 points to close to 37-31.
Williams got the Vikings offense back in gear, nailing his fourth 3 of the game.
"My teammates got me the ball in the right spots," said Williams, who finished with 14 points. "I have been working on my shot and I feel more comfortable out there."
Ochoa the produced three baskets from inside the paint on consecutive possessions as Fremd was able to pull away with a 46-35 lead with just over four minutes to play.
"I knew I needed to make some shots here," Ochoa said. "I was working hard inside to create some shots."
Fremd, which added to its record start with its 19th win, also got strong play from Ben Carlson, who had 10 rebounds to go with his 2 points. Thomas Cordell came off the bench to grab 5 rebounds and help the Vikings to a 28-18 rebounding edge.
"I thought our big guys played well tonight," said Widlowski, whose team will play a nonconference game Saturday night at Evanston. "We are going to need that same kind of effort against Evanston."
Palatine got 8 points from Mike Williams and 5 points from Matt Ulrich.
"To beat Fremd, you have to shoot the ball real well," said Palatine coach Eric Millstone, "because they just don't concede anything inside. We tried throwing a few punches and they answered. It was a good game."