Fremd's defense stymies Schaumburg
Fremd cranked up its defense and shut down Schaumburg Friday in Palatine.
Fremd forced 19 turnovers and kept the Saxons off balance the entire night as the Vikings used a strong fourth quarter to win the Mid-Suburban West boys basketball battle 49-40.
"Our defensive effort was rock solid," Fremd coach Bob Widlowski said. "They were rock solid. Tafara Okammor and Kayman Hopkins did a great job on (Chris) Hodges. They both did a great job on him."
Okammor and Hopkins, who are both seniors, kept the 6-foot-8 Hodges away from the basket. The duo took turns playing behind Hodges while the Fremd guards would double-down at times on the Wisconsin recruit and limited him to 6 points.
"He is such a good player so we have to respect that," said the 6-foot-5 Hopkins. "It was the emphasis of my game to stop that. I knew that if he would get going early, everyone else would get going."
The 6-4 Okammor came off the bench and played a physical game.
"There was a lot of preparation during the week and we were focusing getting around in the post," Okammor said. "We tried to keep him away from the basket and I am glad we could get a win today as a team."
While Fremd (6-3, 2-1) was able to keep Schaumburg stalled on the offensive end, Jake Schoffstall had the Viking offense rolling. Schoffstall, who is a three-year starter, scored 23 points and had five 3-pointers, including three in the first quarter.
"When my teammates are driving and kicking, it makes it a lot easier," Schoffstall said. "After you make the first, you feel like you can keep making them."
Schoffstall's hot shooting helped the Vikings lead 25-20 at the break.
Schaumburg (9-2, 2-1) used some defensive pressure of its own in the third quarter, holding Fremd to just 4 points. The Saxons scored the final 8 points of the period thanks to 3-pointers from Armen Torosian and Arnav Karnik and a layup from Cameron Nicks to lead 30-29 after three periods.
Fremd responded with a basket from Max Wexley and a 3 from Schoffstall to lead 34-31. Schaumburg closed to within one on a 3-point play by Jared Schoo to make it 34-33 with 6:59 to play.
Fremd continued to press the play. Charlie Towns nailed a 3 and Schoffstall had a pair of steals and driving layups as the Vikings surged to a 41-33 lead with 4:14 left.
Schaumburg would get within 5 at 43-38 on a 3-pointer by Torosian, but that was as close as the Saxons would get. Wexley converted three free throws in two trips to line to put the game away for the Vikings.
Widlowski was impressed with the number of turnovers his team forced.
"That's what you want," Widlowski said. "Those are things we focus on. And it is nice to see when the plan works in the flow."
Schaumburg coach Wade Heisler said that his team didn't come ready to play.
"They beat us on both ends of the floor," Heisler said. "I thought we came out flat and had trouble getting it going. You could kind of feel it. There was just something missing."
Wexley had 9 points for Fremd while Towns had 6 and Hopkins 5. Schoo, Torosian and Karnak each had 6 points for Schaumburg.