Fremd knocks off Palatine in rivalry game
Rivalry games can be special, and Fremd guard Ruthie Montella weighed in on just that after the Vikings' girls basketball team defeated visiting Palatine 52-39 Tuesday night in a Mid-Suburban West matchup.
"You grow up going to these games," said Montella, "and when you're little you go to school with everybody and you wind up playing each other year after year -- and every year it gets more exciting. I'm really glad we played well, everybody was super excited about this game and I think that was reflected in our first quarter."
The first eight minutes for Fremd against the Pirates was a great blend of depth and teamwork. Ten players from the Vikings saw court time in the first period -- seven of them seniors, by the way -- and each of the 10 contributed with either points, rebounds, steals or blocked shots in the stanza.
Junior guard Grace LaBarge had 6 points and 3 take-aways in the opening minutes to pace Fremd to a quick 17-0 lead.
"We really needed a start like this," said LaBarge, "because lately we haven't been starting great. Then in the second quarter we just had to keep it going."
Montella scored 9 of her 11 points in the second period as Fremd extended the advantage to 37-14.
The Pirates actually had a strong beginning to the game as well, but just couldn't get any shots to fall.
"I know the scoreboard showed that we were down 17 to nothing," said Palatine coach Mark Johnson," but we were playing well. We just couldn't make a basket and they (Fremd) couldn't miss.
"At halftime we talked about winning the second half," added Johnson. "You always want to win the game of course, but we wanted to win the second half to get some momentum going forward. We battled back, started chipping away and were able to cut into the lead."
Pirates senior guard Olivia Radtke started the third quarter with two 3-pointers, and when she hit another 3 midway through, Palatine was down just 41-27.
But Fremd (15-6, 6-0) was able to extend the lead and used great ball movement in the final stanza to keep Palatine at bay, and just a flurry of points in the final minute of the contest from the Pirates -- including a 3-pointer from Yunah Shin -- accounted for the final score.
Radtke finished with a game-high 18 points while seniors Olivia Hill (11 points and 7 rebounds) and Caroline Cochran (7 points) paced the Vikings.
LaBarge had 6 points, while Fremd seniors Emily Klaczek and Ella Burns each scored 5.
"The kids did a great job the entire first half," said Fremd coach Dave Yates. "They were very consistent and that was nice to see."