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Another classic battle between the state-ranked Rolling Meadows and Fremd girls basketball teams was staged at the Barrington Field House on Thursday night.
And the big crowd got its money’s worth with some extra drama in the Class 4A sectional final.
Just before the curtain dropped, Northwestern recruit Alexis Glasgow found the spotlight in overtime, scoring 7 of Meadows’ 9 points to seal a 57-53 thriller.
Next show time for the Mustangs (27-4) will be 8 p.m. on Monday, when they face New Trier (27-4) in the Hoffman Estates supersectional.
“I don’t even know what to say,” said Vliet, who along with her seven fellow seniors, is part of the finest girls basketball class at Rolling Meadows. “There are no words for this. Fremd put up a terrific battle. It came down to the wire as it always does.”
The first finish line saw the team s tied at 48-48 in regulation, thanks to junior Haley Gorecki’s big drive and nifty 10-foot off-balance bucket with 31.6 seconds left.
Both teams missed attempts in the final three seconds to give the fans the chance to relive the great OT battle between the teams in the 2013 Mid-Suburban League championship game won by Fremd at Rolling Meadows.
And just like last year, Fremd also won this year’s MSL crown before Meadows came back both times to win the sectional.
“I’m just overjoyed that we’ve got practice (today),” said Glasgow, whose free throw with 1:40 left in OT gave Meadows the lead for good. “I love these girls on this team.”
The large Mustangs student body loved senior Sami Kay early in the second half, chanting her name when she hit big back-to-back 3-pointers to keep the Mustangs close after they trailed 21-20 at intermission.
“I knew it would help if I could hit them and we needed something to get us going,” Kay said. “Being down at half, we knew if we didn’t come out fighting in the second half the game might not go our way.”
Fremd answered Kay’s 3-pointers with its own by Gorecki (game-high 21 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 assist) and senior Hannah LaBarge (9 points, 5 rebounds).
LaBarge’s long distance shot — her third 3-pointer of the game — gave Fremd a 27-26 lead.
Neither team led by more than 3 points until Jackie Kemph hit a pair of free throws with 11.7 seconds left in OT to make it 57-53.
Those 2 points followed the 7 from Glasgow.
“I thought Alexis was ridiculous in overtime,’ said Kemph, who finished with a game-high 20 points and 6 assists . “She was awesome.”
“I just wanted to get to the rim,” said Glasgow (19 points, 5 rebounds) of her big final four minutes. “I’m a senior. I thought we really did a good job executing our game plan and stopping their penetration.”
Glasgow’s 2 free throws with 55 seconds left made it 55-52.
Fremd got only one shot on its next possession as Allie Kemph grabbed the rebound of the missed shot with 31 seconds left.
”Allie’s always in the right spot,” said Jackie of her sister. “And her defense is awesome.”
Fremd wrapped up another awesome season, going 27-4 against a very difficult schedule and winning consecutive MSL and regional crowns.
“I could not be prouder of my girls,” said Fremd coach Dave Yates. “We went to toe to toe with them for 34 minutes and 30 seconds. We hit big shots and we had opportunities to win the game. But then we got caught on a couple of possessions where the ball just wouldn’t go in the basket.”
Sophomore Brianna Lewis had 13 points with 5 assists and 4 rebounds for Fremd while her classmate Bryana Hopkins tossed in 6 points with 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Erica Simios and Grace Tworek (3 steals) each pulled down 3 rebounds.
“They (Meadows) hit some big shots down the stretch, too,” Yates said. “Credit them.”
“Sometimes it takes a little luck to win the state tournament. The bad part for us is the one of the best groups to ever run through Rolling Meadows happens to be a mile and half away from our school. So we have to meet them a little earlier than you would want. I think we are one of the best teams in the state, too.”
Rolling Meadows coach Ryan Kirkorsky has never argued against that.
“That last game (49-42 loss in MSL championship) made us look at a lot of things we were doing,” Kirkorsky said. “We knew we weren’t going to fastbreak and win a game against them. We had to execute on offense and get the ball to the right people.”
The right person to start the offense in the first quarter was Ashley Montanez (7 points, 6 rebounds), whose layup ignited a 6-0 run to tie the game.
From there, the battle was on.
“It was an awesome game by both teams,” Jackie Kemph said. “We have eight seniors and every one of us tried as hard as we could to get he game to come out the way we wanted.
“Haley Gorecki is an awesome player and we knew it would be difficult going against her. Obviously we would have liked to have won the (MSL title) but this was the important one.
This one took top billing for the Mustangs.