Fremd loses another tight game to take 4th at Montini
As he moved from Fremd's first loss of the season to Nazareth Friday night toward their third-place game with Mother McAuley Saturday, coach Dave Yates took an analytical approach as to the reason he has his team at the Montini Christmas Tournament to begin with.
"We're here to get challenged and to learn about ourselves," Yates said. "We're going to get tested."
And in the Vikings' 52-44 loss to the all-girl Catholic school from Chicago's Mt. Greenwood neighborhood, the 13th-year Fremd coach took home some more positives from their second defeat of the season.
"We've played the third, fourth, and eighth ranked teams in the Chicagoland area. We won one of those and the other two were 2-point games with 1:30 left. That's (the type of competition) we needed."
In their fourth game in as many days in Lombard, the Vikings (17-2) would rally from a 13-point deficit to grab a 38-37 lead with 68 seconds gone by in the fourth quarter on drive inside by Ruthie Montella.
Fremd pulled off the rally despite three of its starters being plagued by foul trouble in addition to going just 5 of 17 during the middle quarters.
It did so in large part to two critical factors: a 14-for-16 performance at the charity stripe, and the presence of 6-foot-2 freshman Brianna Wooldridge who tallied 9 of her team-high 11 points during that span.
Unfortunately for the Vikings the lead would go away for good when Mighty Mac senior forward Lauren Ramsey tripled from beyond the arc to put McAuley up 40-38 with 5:35 remaining.
The closest the Vikings got came when Emily Klaczek's 3 made it 46-44 with 75 seconds left before McAuley's other senior starting forward Grace Hynes hit 4 of 5 at the free-throw line to seal the deal.
Hynes paced the Mighty Macs (16-1) with 15 points and 14 rebounds, followed by junior guard Jenna Badali with 13 points and Ramsey with 11.
For the Vikings, a trip to next Saturday's Benet Shootout in Lisle to face Fenwick continues their coach's goal for his team to be really good at the end of the season.
"Little things, that's the big take-away," Yates said. "Sometimes little things matter. That's what we gotta do to beat really good teams."