Fremd downs Schaumburg in OT to win MSL West; Hodges scores 1,000th
Dean Ganas and Fremd heated up when they needed to the most.
Ganas, who was scoreless in the first half, finished with 20 points while Bryce Hopkins poured in 18 points and had 14 rebounds as Fremd outlasted host Schaumburg 54-45 in overtime Friday in a winner take all game.
The victory earned Fremd (19-4, 9-1) the Mid-Suburban League West title for the second time in the last three years. It will also move the Vikings into the MSL title game next Wednesday at Prospect.
It wasn't easy for Fremd, which had to overcome an early deficit to Schaumburg and a buzzer-beating layup by the Saxons' Michael Hodges, that sent the game into overtime tied at 41.
"It was a great atmosphere," Fremd coach Bob Widlowski said. "I like the way that we didn't blink when they tied it at the end of regulation."
Widlowski liked the way the Vikings executed on offense in the second half and overtime.
"We talked about just running our stuff," Widlowski said. "And when we did that, we got much better looks."
The main beneficiary of those open shots was Ganas.
"In the first half, I couldn't find the rim," Ganas said. "I just came out and told myself that this was my last conference game and I wasn't going to go out like that. I came out in the second half ready to go."
Ganas hit a 3-pointer and nailed a pair of driving baskets to score 7 unanswered points for Fremd as it pulled ahead of Schaumburg 27-22.
The Vikings led by 33-27 when Schaumburg (20-6, 8-2) made its move.
The Saxons, who had 6-foot-7 Chris Hodges wrapped up by Fremd's Bryce Hopkins, Kayman Hopkins and Charlie Towns, found their offense. Led by Michael Hodges, who scored his 1,000th career point in the game, and Heze Trotter, Schaumburg went on a 10-2 to pull ahead 37-35 with 3:14 to play.
The game see-sawed from there.
Ganas' second 3-pointer moved Fremd back in front 38-37 with 2:48 to play. Trotter's drive put the Saxons in front 39-38 with 2:32 left.
Schaumburg had a chance to open up its lead but missed a free throw and turned the ball over with a charge with less than a minute to play.
It was Ganas again who came to the rescue. The senior took a pass from Bryce Hopkins and then buried his third 3-pointer of the game with 39 seconds left to move Fremd ahead 41-39.
"We really worked on spacing," Ganas said. "Bryce hit me. He made the right pass and I knocked it down."
But a great drive and converted layup just before the horn by Michael Hodges sent the game into overtime.
Baskets by the Hopkins brothers sandwiched a Schaumburg free throw as Fremd led 45-42 in overtime. Fremd was then able to convert 8 of 10 free throws down the stretch to claim the division title.
"We knew we had to come in here and win it if we wanted to play in the MSL championship game," Bryce Hopkins said. "We did what we needed to do. We struggled early and I did whatever I could at the beginning of the game to help our team out."
Schaumburg was led by Chris Hodges' 15 points, Michael Hodges' 13 points and Trotter's 8 points.
"I thought they beat us up on the glass," Schaumburg coach Wade Heisler said. "Second-chance points kill you, especially against a team like that. Overall, I thought we played extremely hard. I never doubt the effort of this team."