2016-'17 Season Coverage
updated: 2/23/2017 11:45 PM

Feisty Fremd finishes in super fashion

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This time, there was no comeback.

Instead, Fremd is going back -- to the Elite Eight for the third straight time.

Just 15 days after Hersey rallied from a 9-point deficit to defeat Fremd in the Mid-Suburban League girls basketball championship game, the Vikings made sure Thursday's Class 4A sectional championship at Libertyville wasn't a mirror image.

This time, when Fremd got ahead by 9 points in the third quarter on a driving bank shot by freshman Emily Klaczek, the No. 2 Vikings never let up.

They extended the lead to 39-20 on 3-pointer by senior Midori Williams late in the period and went on to post a 49-30 triumph over top-seeded Hersey (27-4).

It marked Fremd's third straight sectional title. The Vikings (27-6) will face Rockford Boylan in Monday's Dundee-Crown supersectional at 7 p.m.

"We were in the same situation in the third quarter last time we played them and we let the lead go," said Vikings Harvard-bound senior Grace Tworek, who spun her way between collapsing defenders to a game-high 17 points with 13 rebounds, 5 blocked shots and 2 assists. "Any time you lose a lead like that, you play ten times harder than next time you're in that situation. This was a great way to win a sectional."

Hersey got off to a great start, building a 10-3 lead when senior Gina Miklasz made a steal near half court and then assisted on a fastbreak layup by classmate Claire Gritt (12 points) with 3:20 left in the first quarter.

Vikings coach Dave Yates called a timeout and the Vikings responded by closing the first half on a 17-6 run which put them ahead 20-16 at intermission.

The MSL West champs then outscored Hersey 19-7 in the third period.

"That was a pretty good quarter," said Fremd coach Dave Yates. "Let's face it -- Hersey is a fantastic team. It wasn't like we were doing that against a mediocre team. The key was that we stayed the course this game We knew if we did that, we'd be OK."

"When we got that 9-point lead last time and lost it, I don't know what happened," said Vikings senior and Bradley-bound Missy Adrian who chipped in 11 points with 2 steals. "We learned from that mistake and really adjusted to make sure it didn't happen again. Three sectionals in a row is amazing, unbelievable."

Senior sisters Midori Williams and Hayley Williams each had 3-pointers for Fremd in the second half and the Vikes received a key basket from Colleen Kennedy in the third quarter.

Klaczek finished with 11 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists.

"That's our team growing up," said Fremd coach Dave Yates of Klaczek's key production as a freshman. "Emily was making some really good plays."

Hersey made its biggest plays in the game's first five minutes, including a nifty left hook shot by Erin McGrath which tied the game at 2-2 and sent the Huskies on a 10-1 run.

Erin McGrath, Miklasz and senior Carly Cooper all finished with 4 points for Hersey while Kelly Weyhrich hit a 3-pointer and Katie McGrath had 3 points.

"I know we can be kind of sporadic offensively," said Hersey coach Mary Fendley. "That's not what surprised me. We're usually very consistent defensively and we weren't tonight.

"We missed rebounding opportunities. I don't know if it was nerves, but we missed some help situations where we weren't supposed to, but we did."

Hersey's senior class closed out an amazing run with 101 wins and four regional championships.

It's a team Fendley will never forget.

"Personally, I have a great family and great friends but I never thought there would be a bunch of teenagers who would help me get through the hardest year of my life," said Fendley, referring to the final weeks of last season that she missed while battling breast cancer. "But it's not about me. It's what they do for each other. They are just a constant support system for each other."

Fendley said her players, especially the seniors, did everything the right way.

"They worked hard with us during the season," she said. "They always respected their opponents, coaches and officials. To me, that says about as much about this team as anything.

"They obviously have the physical talent to win 27 games. But they have the hearts of champions all the time -- at school, in the hallways, the way they treat their teachers and classmates. I wouldn't trade any of them."

Gritt finished with well more than 1,000 points in her four-year career.

"We played so long together as a group and I know we will always be family but it's still tough to end your high school basketball career," Gritt said. "We always took it one game at a time and had each other's back.

"We had the shots falling at the beginning but unfortunately they weren't at the end. Things were falling our way but then they started to go Fremd's way. I just feel fortunate to have been a part of this team."

A team that included one of the best defenders, Cooper, in Hersey girls basketball history.

"We've been so close," Cooper said. "And we will always be there for each other. "It's hard for this to end. We spent a lot of time in the locker room after this game talking about the past four years and reminiscing about the good times."

"It's way more than basketball with this group," Fendley said. "And that's what is sad to see end. We don't have this common meeting place now every day after school.

"We've seen this group coming along for years. And it wasn't just about basketball. They are great students, great people. Their parents are awesome. We're a family. I've been coaching a long time and this is really a family -- a non-blood related family."

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