For Fremd, success so far is elemental

By Howard Schlossberg
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/2/2016 11:18 PM

Experience and execution equal excellence, and so far, the three E's have been paying off for Fremd's boys basketball team.

The Vikings moved to 5-0 overall and 1-0 in the Mid-Suburban West with a convincing 56-42 win Friday night at Palatine, against a Pirates team with as much hustle and fire but not near enough experience.


Fremd's four starting seniors -- point guard Kyle Sliwa, two guard Luke Schoffstall and forwards Shaan Patel and Brian Dompke -- all scored in double figures, combining for 42 of Fremd's points.

And they did their damage early to seize control. Dompke's putback and jumper helped Fremd launch a 14-3 first-quarter closing streak which included deadeye Schoffstall's 3-pointer.

"We did a real nice job of coming into a real good high school atmosphere and taking charge in the first half," said Fremd coach Bob Widlowski.

By the time junior Luke Seidel, senior Mark Kating and sophomore Bryce Hopkins came off the bench to contribute to the run, which extended into the second quarter, Fremd had taken command with a 23-9 lead that never got below double-digits the rest of the way.

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Dompke, working hard inside, paced Fremd (5-0, 1-0) with 15 points while Sliwa was everywhere, directing traffic, pulling up for a jumper or slashing to the basket for 12 points. Hopkins, a lynchpin for the future, had 8.

"We start four seniors. We have a lot of experience," said Sliwa, a three-year varsity performer. And where Widlowski noted the raucous audience, part of a girls/boys doubleheader, "We weren't rattled by the crowd," Sliwa added.

"Kating and Hopkins played well off the bench. That was (Hopkins') first conference game. He handled it well," said Widlowski.

By the time Palatine (1-4, 0-1) found some rhythm, it was trailing 48-23 in the third. Center Hogans Cortez, just back from concussion protocol after football season, had a team-high 12 points and was a pest around the basket, keeping missed shots alive and fighting for putback opportunities. From the perimeter, Palatine's only senior starter, Scott Elter, actually kept things interesting with four 3-pointers as Palatine outplayed Fremd for stretches of the second half.

"There's definitely some working pieces," Palatine coach Eric Millstone said after seeing good hustle from junior Johnny O'Shea and, off the bench for foul-plagued Cortez, sophomore Basa Balanganayi. Now, Millstone is looking for them to make progress toward the level Fremd has reached.

"They play hard and they don't beat themselves," Millstone said. "We've got to work on our balance and discipline."

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