Bowling Green the right fit for Fremd's Hill

  • Fremd's Olivia Hill, right, pressures Lake Zurich's Ella Gilbertson in a girls basketball game in Palatine Thursday.

      Fremd's Olivia Hill, right, pressures Lake Zurich's Ella Gilbertson in a girls basketball game in Palatine Thursday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

Updated 1/15/2020 7:22 PM

Fremd girls basketball coach Dave Yates says one thing that stands out about his 6-foot-1 forward Olivia Hill is her high energy level on the court.

Vikings fans have seen that hustle for four years.


In less than nine months, fans of Bowling Green's women's basketball team will get that opportunity. Hill made her official visit to Ohio last summer and the rest is history.

"I got a gut feeling when I was there that it was the place for me," said Hill, the Falcons' recruit who has been part of two Mid-Suburban West championships at Fremd and has currently played a key role in getting her team (13-4, 4-0) in first place again this season.

"I loved it there," she added. "The program is awesome and the coaches were just really, really cool, It just felt right."

Just like the basketball felt right to her when she was trying many sports.

"I was very much an athlete so I wanted to try all the sports," Hill said. "I just realized at one point I wanted to stick it out with basketball."

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And it proved a be a great decision as Hill rose to become one the top players in the state.

She's had multiple games with double-digit scoring numbers and her rebounding has played a key role for the Mid-Suburban West powerhouse which has won nine MSL West crowns in the past 10 years.

"Olivia just does a lot of the little things that sometimes don't show up in the point totals," said Yates, the architect of Fremd's dominating MSL West run. "Whether it's her defense, offensive rebounding or whatever, she does many different things and she can guard multiple people."

Her father played football at McHenry High School but played a key role in Olivia's growth in basketball.

"My dad and I played together a lot when I was younger," Olivia said. "He always told me I could do it. He's always been a positive influence in my life."

She also credits Yates.

"He has been a big help," she said. "He is a very talented coach. He focuses a lot on us as individuals and what we need. He will ask us what we need to be coached on and he tells us how to push ourselves and our teammates, which is a big part of why we have grown so much and have had so much success."


Hill loves the team aspect of basketball.

"I like the whole idea of having someone there to play with," she said. "And being able to play with them is really cool."

She is planning to study psychology or education.

"She loved it down there (Bowling Green)," Yates said. "She'll fit in. They want versatile kids who can guard multiple positions and I think she is going to help them a lot."

And Hill believes she will get all the help she needs.

"The coaches are all very family-oriented," she said. "And a lot of the players I met were focused on that, too. And the focus is not just only on basketball but life itself."

College parade: Fremd seniors Kendall Maloney (6-foot), Katie Hansen (6-3) and Eleanor Klink (6-3) have made college commitments.

Maloney will play at Stevens Institute of Technology, a private research university in Hoboken, N.J., while Hansen is a Hamilton College (Clinton, N.Y.) recruit.

Klink will continue to be a Viking as she has committed to Augustana in Rock Island.

That pushes the Vikings up to six players with collegiate commitments, including Emily Klaczek (Alabama Birmingham), Olivia Hill (Bowling Green) and Ruthie Montella (William & Mary).

Charging Chargers: When Steve Rowland left his coaching job at Christian Liberty in 2014, he had just led the Chargers to their first regional title.

He returned to the position last season and once again has the Class 1A club on the winning trail.

After going 15-10 last year, Rowland's girls are 14-3 this season and 3-0 in the Northeastern Athletic Conference.

"It's just the girls playing together and their commitment," Rowland said. "Two years ago when I came back I talked to the kids and the parents."

Rowland said he talked to them about commitment.

"I said that is not a word I just throw around lightly. It's an action, it's a verb and something we have to do.

"I said we need you here in the summer, and I need you here at every practice and every game. And they have not let me down for two summers. We have seen great summer work. They've been to shootouts and have not missed one practice. Now this is the payoff."

Even without Audrey Law, a sophomore who averages double figures in scoring and rebounds, the Chargers were able to get past South Beloit on Monday. The SoBos came in with a 3-0 record in the NAC.

"We played our worst in probably 12 games," Rowland said. "We had a terrible week of practice before. We should have played better. We'll take the win but that was not who we are. We'll draw off it. We have to lace up our shoes and play better."

Making a difference: Christian Liberty's 15-10 record a year ago wasn't all that bad.

But this season, the Chargers have already reached 14 wins with only 3 losses and a month still remains in the regular season.

So what's the difference for this team, which does not have a senior on the roster?

"A lot of people have stepped up and Hannah (Mindak, a 5-foot-8 sophomore) is now a force in the post and really making a difference," said sophomore guard Julia Wolke of Des Plaines. "A lot of people have worked on their games and as a team, we have a lot of weapons."

One of those weapons is sophomore Dayna Mateo, also from Des Plaines. She has recently returned after missing five games to shoulder injury.

"It's great to be back on the court," Mateo said after leading the Chargers with 11 points and a few assists in their win over South Beloit. "I missed being out there. It was tough watching from the sidelines. I feel I should be able to create shots for my teammates as well as my own scoring."

Mindak, a Schiller Park native, is in her second year on the varsity.

"A big part of our success this season is because behind the scenes we get along real well," she said. "So we have that teamwork on and off the court which is so important."

Thursday crossover: Barrington and Buffalo Grove will be the only MSL teams in action on Thursday. The two teams meet on the Bison's floor at 7:30 p.m.

BG is coming off a 36-22 win at Rolling Meadows which put the Bison at 5-0 as the first-place team in the MSL East.

Barrington's last game was a 55-41 win at Schaumburg, which kept the Fillies one game behind Fremd in the MSL West.

In addition to her 24 points, Fillies forward Taylor Thompson had 10 rebounds and 5 blocks against the Saxons.

"Taylor played what I thought was really a great game," said Barrington coach Babbi Barreiro. "I really thought her decision making was great. She didn't force when they doubled her and she passed very well. She played well at both ends."

Barreiro also liked how hard the Fillies pushed at both ends of the floor. "I thought we got some nice minutes from Alison Funk and Gracie Stagnito," the coach added.

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