Fast start propels Fremd to win over South Elgin

By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 2/12/2022 7:30 PM

Sometimes it is all about the start.

For Fremd, its engine was firing from the first turn of the key.


The Vikings bolted to a 15-2 lead and then had to hold onto the wheel for a few minutes for a 75-61 win over South Elgin Saturday in a nonconference boys basketball game in Palatine.

After a disappointing loss to Conant on a last-second shot on Friday, Fremd came ready to play Saturday.

"I thought we played very hard last night," Fremd coach Bob Widlowski said. "We told the kids that having a game Saturday was the best thing for us. These kids never put their heads down. We bounced back tonight and we bounced back on both ends of the floor."

Fremd (17-9) came out firing on cylinders on Senior Night. And the Vikings got some spark from some unusual sources thanks to Aaron Orido and Sevag Aroyan as they built a 17-6 lead.

"It was a real good team effort tonight," Widlowski said. "We spread it around and we shared the ball really well. Our defense was also a key and it led to some baskets."

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Fremd forced South Elgin (15-14) to turn the ball over five times early in the game. Chris Smyros and the Vikings then heated up even more. Fremd converted 14 of its first 22 shots as the Vikings surged to a 32-15 lead.

"It was a very fun night," said Smyros, who finished with 21 points. "We came out great and we executed well. We really wanted this one tonight after a tough loss last night."

South Elgin, which has suffered through numerous slow starts according to coach Brett Johnson, finally was able to settle into the game.

"We have started all games against quality opponents with slow starts," Johnson said. "And we have had to battle back. And we have battled back every game."

The Storm did battle back on numerous occasions Saturday, only to have Fremd dig in even deeper.

South Elgin got its deficit down to 10 points late in the second quarter. But the Vikings scored the final 5 points thanks to a 3-pointer by Cameron Kuhl as they led 40-25 at the break.


Fremd looked like it would blow the game open in the third quarter as it surged to a 57-38 lead.

"We had Senior Night, so I knew I wasn't going to be starting," said Vikes junior Ryan Sammons, who finished with 18 points. "Coming off the bench, I was just trying to give my best effort and do what the team needed."

Led by Rocco Marzullo (14 points) and Drew Cwik (13 points), the Storm got it down to 63-56 on Cwik's 3-pointer with 5:08 to play.

But a timeout by Widlowski quickly righted the Vikings' ship. A pair of inside baskets by Caiden Suchy helped the Vikings close out the game on a 12-5 run.

Fremd had eight different players score including Eli Schoffstall, who had 8 points. Orido, Suchy and Kuhl each had 6 points. South Elgin had nine different players score. Brian Vesta and Josh Gene each had 8 points.

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