Palatine notches big MSL West win over Fremd
The last time Palatine's boys basketball team defeated Fremd, which was five years ago, Pirates' junior guard Luke Seiffert was in seventh grade.
Seiffert was a key factor in the host Pirates' 46-42 win Friday night in the Mid-Suburban West.
"At the end of every practice," said Seiffert, "I think of hitting two free throws to seal the game. It's something I've thought about since I was a freshman."
Seiffert accounted for 21 points including 2 free throws with three seconds left in the game to give Palatine (2-3, 1-0) the 4-point edge.
Center Julian Campbell had a strong game for the Pirates with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocked shots.
Seiffert helped Palatine get off to a 12-6 lead by scoring 7 points, while Campbell added 5 points.
"We had gotten off to some slow starts in our first four games, " said Palatine coach Eric Millstone. "Today the point was to be ready to go from the tip."
The Vikings stormed back by scoring the last 9 points of the first quarter. Jake Schoffstall (game-high 27 point) scored 7 points as Fremd grabbed the lead at 15-12.
But Fremd (2-3, 0-1) would go scoreless in the second quarter and fell behind Palatine 26-15 at the halftime break.
Fremd would go 0 for 13 from the field in the second quarter.
"In the first half," said Fremd coach Bob Widlowski, " I counted us being 1-for-9 from 3-point range. We were moving the ball but the shots just didn't fall. In the third quarter we came out with a good attitude."
Schoffstall led the Vikings, hitting all seven of his shots and scoring 15 third-quarter points. Charlie Towns added 4 for the Vikings, who took a 34-32 lead into the fourth quarter.
Schoffstall's last basket, a 3-pointer, gave Fremd a 37-34 lead with 7:06 left in the game.
"We knew Fremd would make runs," said Seiffert. "We just had to stay together and weather the storm."
Seiffert started an 8-0 run with a short jump shot. Campbell put Palatine ahead with three straight baskets for a 42-37 lead with 2:35 left.
"They left me open," said Campbell. "I was able to get position to make those shots. Coach told us at halftime that they would come back and make a run. Winning this one gives us a lot of confidence."
A 3-point play by Max Wexley with 1:19 left cut Palatine's lead to 42-40.
Fremd was able to get the ball right back but Seiffert's steal with 45 seconds left led to Shailan Rajpuker's 2 free throws with 31 seconds to go and a 44-40 lead.
Kayman Hopkins' tip-in with 22 seconds left gave the Vikings their last points.
"There were three times in the last minute that we had the opportunity to get the ball and take it the other way," said Widlowski. "We competed all the way to the last buzzer."
"Luke is as steady as the day is long," said Millstone of Seiffert. "He was disappointed in his play in the tournament last week. For him to step up and play the way he did in a big game like this says volumes about the kid and his toughness. Julian played well and finished plays better than he did last week. "