2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 3/15/2014 12:01 AM

Fremd salutes a team worthy of admiration

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By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent

Both perfection and a nearly perfect season went by the wayside on Friday night in the Class 4A sectional final at Lake Zurich.

Previously unbeaten Fremd had things rolling early but eventually fell to Stevenson 63-48.

In acknowledgment of a superlative season, the raucous Fremd faithful cheered wildly for the seniors as coach Bob Widlowski substituted for them at the end of game.

"They will look back at this with a good memory," Widlowski said. "This hurts right now because they believed they could be successful."

The Vikings were nothing but successful their first 28 times on the court.

They tied a school record for victories while winning the Fenton and Wheeling tournaments, then added the MSL and regional crowns, all without a single loss.

"We are really proud of what we did this season," said Fremd's Ben Carlson, who finished with 6 points. "It was a close group of guys who were willing to do anything to win."

Widlowski credited the hard work of his seniors led by co-captains Riley Glassmann and Carlson, along with Matt Ochoa, Garrett Groot, Jalon Roundy, Thomas Cordell and Conner Peters.

"They worked very hard during the season," Widlowski said. "They had high goals and expectations. When they look back on this season years from now, they will look at the great things they did this year."

Glassmann, who is headed to Cornell, said the family atmosphere at Fremd was one of the main reasons for the Vikings' success.

"With this group of guys, we are a family," said Glassmann, who finished his final game at Fremd with 18 points. "I wish we could play another year together. But unfortunately we can't."

Glassmann credited Widlowski's philosophy and coaching technique for his own success at Fremd. Glassmann accumulated over 1,200 points in his four-year career.

"He is a player's coach," Glassmann said. "We all love him."

Things looked good early for the Vikings on Friday. Despite 8 turnovers in the first quarter, Fremd was able to lead 13-12.

But while the Vikies were able to repair the turnovers, they failed to convert shots, hitting just 31 percent (11-of-35).

Meanwhile, Stevenson's Jalen Brunson (27 points) and Connor Cashaw (20 points) took over for Stevenson (30-1).

"I don't know what it was," said Ochoa, who had 11 points and 6 rebounds. "We got the shots we wanted. We got them inside and outside but the ball wasn't falling. We did what we wanted to do. It just didn't go our way.

"It was a great season. I enjoyed it while it lasted. It's just tough when it ends."

The Vikings' faithful had pictures of each of their favorite players, including Groot, who was sporting a smile -- sans one tooth, which got knocked out in the MSL title game.

"It summed up the way I like to play the game," Groot said. "I lost that one. I will remember this season for that.

"I knew I wasn't going to be the one scoring. I just wanted to come out there with energy and get the team going."

Carlson, who will play at Indiana Wesleyan next year, says he will miss his high school teammates.

"There is nothing like high school basketball with the guys you love," Carlson said. "When you have a brotherhood as a team, it is hard to be beaten."

Xavier Williams, the lone junior in the Fremd starting five, said what he learned this year will carry on to next season.

"I am really thankful for the experience this year," Williams said. "This team really helped me develop my game. I hope I can use it next year and help bring us back to this situation."

Fremd has plenty in the tank with Williams and 6-foot-6 sophomore Pat Benka back next year. The Vikings will also be able to lean on players from a sophomore team that finished 26-0 this season.

"Our seniors really did a tremendous job and set the pace for us," Widlowski said. "They showed everyone how we go about our business.

"I would hope that when we get the next group that they would follow the same path."

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