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Article updated: 2/14/2014 11:11 PM
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Fremd wins MSL West outright
 

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Fremd wins MSL West outright
  • Fremd's Tom Cordell (35) delivers 2 points in the first half ahead of Conant's Ryan Blaha as the Vikings win an outright MSL West championship on Friday in Palatine.

    Purchase Photo | Fremd's Tom Cordell (35) delivers 2 points in the first half ahead of Conant's Ryan Blaha as the Vikings win an outright MSL West championship on Friday in Palatine. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Fremd players celebrate after beating Conant to wrap up the MSL West title at Fremd on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | Fremd players celebrate after beating Conant to wrap up the MSL West title at Fremd on Friday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Fremd’s Xavier Williams (23) celebrates with his teammates after beating Conant to wrap up the MSL West title on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | Fremd’s Xavier Williams (23) celebrates with his teammates after beating Conant to wrap up the MSL West title on Friday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Fremd’s Jalon Roundy (4) struggles for control of the ball as Conant’s Kevin Copher (3) comes in and knocks it away at Fremd on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | Fremd’s Jalon Roundy (4) struggles for control of the ball as Conant’s Kevin Copher (3) comes in and knocks it away at Fremd on Friday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Fremd’s Xavier Williams (23) eyes the basket but is fouled by Conant’s Drew Lydon (23) in MSL West play at Fremd on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | Fremd’s Xavier Williams (23) eyes the basket but is fouled by Conant’s Drew Lydon (23) in MSL West play at Fremd on Friday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Fremd turned the little things into a big victory Friday in Palatine.

The Vikings played fundamentally sound basketball on both ends of the court to blast Conant 64-43 and claim the Mid-Suburban West title outright for the first time in four years.

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"We talked about that all week," Fremd coach Bob Widlowski said. "We thought this would be a one-possession game. We feel very fortunate to come out with this cushion, and I am very proud of all our guys."

It was a total team effort for the Vikings (22-0, 9-0), who got offensive production from nine different players.

"It is really exciting" said Riley Glassmann, who led the Vikings with 17 points. "That is why we are undefeated. We focus on the little things.

"We have not got off to a good start in the last 4 or 5 games. But we really settled down. At the beginning of the game we were not setting hard screens and not getting good looks.

Conant (19-5, 7-2), which had its 12-game winning streak broken, got off to a great start. The Cougars attacked Fremd, driving or the basket and drawing fouls to lead 11-4 lead with 2:48 left in the first quarter.

During that span, Viking forward and the team's second-leading scorer, Ben Carlson, picked up his second foul and went to the bench. Tom Cordell came in and immediately sparked the Vikings, scoring 6 points and pulling down 4 rebounds in the first quarter as the Vikings closed to 11-10.

"Ben got into foul trouble in the first two minutes and I knew I had to step up," Cordell said. "I made a couple of plays and put us into a position to win."

Widlowski said Cordell's play got the Vikings going.

"He was huge for us," Widlowski said. "Carlson had foul trouble and Tommy came in and filled the void without missing a beat."

Fremd turned up the defensive pressure from there.The Vikings gave up 11 points to Conant in the first five minutes of the game and the Cougars went nearly 11 minutes to score their next 12 points.

Meanwhile, the Vikes were on a tear on the offensive end.

With Glassmann getting his screens and players such as Xavier Williams (13 points) and Patrick Benka (4 points) finding some open shots, Fremd pulled away from. 22-22 tie to score 9 unanswered points on their way to a 19-3 run to lead 41-25 with 2:10 left in the third quarter.

"I thought we played very well defensively in the second half," said Widlowski, whose team held Conant to 31 percent (11 of 35).

"They came out real aggressive and tough. But once we settle down, we got into the flow of the game."

Conant coach Tom McCormack said Fremd's physical play, especially on defense, was the difference.

"Fremd's physical play really affected us mentally," McCormack said. "I think the big reason we didn't shoot the ball well was because the ball never went into the post. When the ball touches the post the defense collapses. We need to do a better job of getting the ball there."

Conant was led by Joe Ranallo, who had 13 points, including 6 in the first quarter. D'Angelo McBride had 9 points, Danny Sotos 8 and Ryan Blaha finished with 6 points.

Fremd got 8 points from Matt Ochoa and 6 points from Carlson in a limited role. The Vikings shot 67 percent (22-of-33) over the final three quarter and perfect 8-for-8 in the fourth quarter.

Staying perfect on the win side is something that Glassmann and the Vikings have on their mind. Fremd has three regular-season games remaining, with Dundee-Crown on Saturday, Barrington next Friday and MSL East winner Prospect for the MSL title at Fremd on Feb. 26th.

"Every undefeated team is going to try to keep winning," Glassmann said. "But we are just going to take it one game at a time and not focusing on three games from now."

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