The old saying that goes, "it's not how you start, it's how you finish," doesn't apply any more.
At least according to Fremd girls basketball coach Dave Yates.
"We preach to the girls that starts to a game matter," said Yates. "And after turnovers tonight on our first two possessions, we went on a pretty good run."
The Vikings, as a matter of fact, controlled play from start to finish in a 65-37 Mid-Suburban West win at Schaumburg.
The victory saw Fremd clinch its eighth consecutive West title, and the great beginning against the Saxons couldn't have come at a better time.
The Vikings had struggled in the first half Tuesday against Palatine and trailed the Pirates at the break before running out to a win -- but there was no such drama versus Schaumburg.
"When we're focused and ready to play," said Fremd sophomore guard Angie Zara, "we can be a great team. We were consistent all the way through tonight and we took it to them."
Six-foot-2 Vikings senior Grace Tworek had a spectacular all-around game with 11 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 blocks.
Tworek was especially adept Friday at finding her open teammates with pinpoint passes.
"The key tonight was that Grace was being triple-teamed," said Yates, "and she was able to kick the ball out to her teammates, who were knocking down 3s.
"I think that at times there were four kids defending her."
Schaumburg senior guard Mallory Gerber led all scorers with 18 points.
"It's always tough against Fremd," said Saxons coach Jacqie Storm. "Tonight we wanted to come out and focus on us and not on them, and I think we did some good things.
"We defended well, especially in the first half when we held Tworek to 3 points."
Schaumburg stayed right with the visitors for the first few minutes, but Fremd took a 14-8 lead at the end of the first quarter when Hayley Williams hit a 3-pointer.
The count stood at 17-8 early in the second when the Vikings went on a 14-point run.
First Colleen Kennedy sank 2 free throws. Then Williams, Zara, Kennedy and Emily Klaczek had consecutive 3-point baskets.
Just like that, Fremd had opened up a 31-8 advantage.
"Despite all those triple-teams (on Tworek)," said Klaczek, "she was able to get the ball to the shooters, and the shooters were finishing."
Schaumburg trailed 32-15 at halftime, but got some life to open the third quarter when Kayla Patterson hit 2 free throws and a Patterson steal on the other end led to a Saxons bucket.
But Fremd (21-5, 8-0) quickly extended the lead back to 20 points, and the Saxons had no answer in the second half for the stellar play of Tworek and Klaczek, a freshman.
Klaczek finished with 15 points and excelled on the boards with 7 rebounds.
"We've been working hard," said Klaczek of the Vikings' performance on the glass. "Coach Yates said before the game that rebounding would be important tonight, and I think we did pretty well at that."
Hayley Williams scored 12 points for Fremd, while Kennedy and Melissa Adrian pitched in with 7 apiece and Zara finished with 6.
Laura O'Connell scored 4 points for Schaumburg, while teammate Vicky Aguirre impressed off the bench in the fourth quarter with a bucket and a couple of steals.
Fremd finished 8-for-14 from 3-point range, while there was a wide discrepancy at the foul line.
The Vikings were 19-for-26 on free throws while Schaumburg (13-10, 5-3) attempted only 8 free throws, making them all.
"They (Fremd) shot the ball so well," said Storm. "When we were defending the middle, they were able to kick the ball out and shoot the 3. They've got five players on the court at all times that can play, so they're tough to defend."