Warren handles Fremd
Warren looked downright scary just one week after surviving an opening-round postseason scare.
From midway through the second quarter on Tuesday night, just about everything was right on for the top-seeded Blue Devils in their Barrington Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal with No. 5 Fremd.
Darius Paul's 18 points led four players in double figures and his 13 rebounds paced a commanding 42-19 advantage. Junior point guard Jameris Smith had 10 points, 8 assists and just 1 turnover.
Brandon Ferguson, JoVaughn Gaines and Kendell Harris made Fremd senior Zach Monaghan work for all of his game-high 25 points.
And it all added up to a 72-43 runaway as Warren (28-3) never trailed in its 14th straight victory.
"We can't give teams confidence they can beat us," said the 6-foot-6 Paul, whose team finally pulled away late in the fourth quarter to beat No. 17 Highland Park in last week's regional semifinal.
"We played with a lot of energy tonight," said Ferguson, who needed it to chase around 22-point averager Monaghan. "We can't play around with teams because everyone will come at us with their 'A' game."
Ferguson had 14 points and Nathan Boothe had 10 points and 8 rebounds as Warren matched the single-season school record for wins set by the 1999 Class AA state runner-up and its 2006 sectional champion.
The Devils shot 48.1 percent from the field (25-for-52), scored 17 points off their 17-3 offensive rebound advantage and committed just 5 turnovers the first three quarters.
Fremd (19-10) shot just 35 percent (13-for-37) and had 14 turnovers.
"We played pretty well tonight," said Warren coach Chuck Ramsey. "We had good energy and good movement. You don't usually lose when you have four in double figures."
It's the formula Warren will try to produce again at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Barrington when it plays for the sectional title against the winner of today's 7:30 p.m. semifinal between No. 2 Mundelein (28-4) and No. 11 Deerfield (18-10).
"They're well-coached and well-prepared and it's a good team," the South Dakota State-bound Monaghan said of Warren after his stellar three-year career came to a close.
"I thought Warren really came to play tonight," said Fremd coach Bob Widlowski. "They did a nice job on both ends of the floor. When they play like that they're really tough."
Monaghan finished 7-for-17 from the floor and 10-for-12 at the free-throw line. Warren trapped him when he got the ball on the perimeter and limited his long-range looks -- with his only 3 coming from 28 feet with 4½ minutes to play.
"We didn't want to let him get anything any time he came around a ball screen," Ferguson said. "Everybody did their job and we got our hands on a couple of balls and forced some turnovers."
Seniors Quinton Brown (9 points) and Jack Konopka (8 points, 6 rebounds) combined for 10 points as Fremd trailed just 19-16 after Monaghan hit 3 free throws 4:46 before halftime.
Then Warren got a quick 9-point burst in just 1:25 as Paul scored off a Tanner Erbach inbound and dunked home Smith's toss off the glass. Erbach hit a 3 and Ferguson found Boothe for a layup.
The lead grew to 34-21 at halftime and 46-23 with 3:11 left in the third quarter.
"We had more intensity and we wanted to step up our game," said Paul, who had 4 blocked shots. "We realize we have to come out fast and we can't settle for shots. We have to play defense."
Fremd, which made a sectional semifinal for the first time since 2003, kept battling but never got closer than 20 points the rest of the way.
"Some of us have been playing together since the third grade … and we're kind of disappointed with the way it ended," Monaghan said. "But there's nothing to hang our heads about."
Especially considering the way Warren played Tuesday.