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Fremd passes Highland Park's test
 

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Fremd passes Highland Park's test
  • Fremd's Riley Glassmann, right, lets out a yell as teammate Xavier Williams comes over to celebrate after forcing a five-seconds call against Highland Park during Wednesday's Class 4A sectional semifinal at at Lake Zurich.

    Purchase Photo | Fremd's Riley Glassmann, right, lets out a yell as teammate Xavier Williams comes over to celebrate after forcing a five-seconds call against Highland Park during Wednesday's Class 4A sectional semifinal at at Lake Zurich. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 

No wonder his next stop is the Ivy League.

On a head-scratching night at Lake Zurich, considering he struggled finding the net as much as Highland Park, Fremd senior Riley Glassmann still found a way to help his team pass its Class 4A sectional-semifinal test.

"D" sufficed for the "A" student.

"Anyone is willing to do whatever it takes to win," Fremd center Ben Carlson said.

For Carlson's Cornell University-bound teammate Glassmann, that meant playing defense and finding his open teammates. Glassmann's team-first approach helped explain how Fremd won 47-26, despite its season-long scoring leader shooting just 1 of 10 from the floor.

Clinging to a 27-21 lead after three quarters, Fremd raised its defensive tenacity in the fourth in pulling away from the Giants. Glassmann forced a five-second violation, and his half-court steal led to his only basket, a layup with 4:19 left.

"When I'm not scoring, I look for ways to get me pumped up and into the game, and I think that definitely did," said Glassmann, who finished with 4 points, 15 below his average. "Getting that five-second call and steal was huge for everyone, because we were stagnant on offense and defense, and that really got us fired up."

The 6-foot-6 Carlson along with 6-6 Matt Ochoa and the 6-5 Glassmann helped the Vikings dominate inside, as No. 2 Fremd (28-0) earned a berth in Friday's 7 p.m. sectional final against top-seeded Stevenson (29-1).

Carlson finished with 13 points and 17 rebounds, while Ochoa had 6 points and 5 boards.

"Matt and Ben both stepped up inside," Glassmann said. "Our game plan every game is not to get the ball to me. It's always to pound it inside. We did a good job of that. Offensive rebounding and close looks are why we won this game."

David Sachs scored 13 points to lead No. 6 Highland Park (22-8), as he accounted for half of his team's points. He had all but one of the Giants' points in the first half, as Fremd went into the break up 24-11.

A 3-pointer by Highland Park's Luke Norcia opened the second-half scoring, and that seemed to spark the Giants, who also got a pair of baskets in the lane from Jordan Krawitz and a 3-pointer from Hallvard Lundevall in the quarter. Glassmann's first point came on a free throw with 5:35 left, but Fremd didn't score again in the third.

Highland Park pulled within 27-21 and was at the line to shoot a pair of free throws late in the quarter but missed both.

"We just got mad. We were frustrated," Carlson said. "We took all that anger that we had and channeled it (in the fourth) all toward our defense and then just tried to be patient on offense and take good shots. Once our offense started going, our defense started going. Everything came together, and we really played well."

"I thought our defense kept us in the game in the third quarter," Fremd coach Bob Widlowski said. "We were stuck on 27 for a long time."

Carlson's layup a minute into the fourth extended Fremd's lead to 29-21. Garrett Groot then came up with a steal at half-court, finished a layup and was fouled. His three-point play pushed the lead back to double digits, as the Vikings went on to outscore the Giants 20-5 in the quarter.

"I thought Groot's steal and 'and one' was a huge turning point," Widlowski said.

"Groot stepped up big for us on defense tonight," Carlson said.

So, too, did Glassmann.

"He kept his head. He kept his focus," Widlowski said. "I thought he did a good job. (Highland Park) traps the heck out of you."

Highland Park, which outscored Fremd 10-3 in the third, got its only points in the fourth on Sachs' pullup 3-pointer and Tommy Sutker's drive with two minutes left.

"I think the guys had some regret with how we played in the first half," said coach Paul Harris, whose Giants were playing in their first sectional since 2008, which was also the last time they won 20 games. "We just talked about trying to lay it on the line in the second half and let's see what happens. I thought we did a great job in the third quarter of doing that. We just couldn't sustain it.

"And I think Fremd is a big reason why," he added. "They're so sound defensively that you just don't get anything easy."

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