That championship feeling for Fremd's girls basketball program
In the same venue that hosted a Kiss concert in 1975, Fremd High School students and basketball fans rocked the school's packed gymnasium on Monday afternoon.
The big turnout was there to applaud Fremd's girls basketball team that was rocking at Illinois State's Redbird Arena this past weekend.
Coach Dave Yates' Vikings became the third Mid-Suburban League girls basketball team to win a state title, with a 58-47 victory over Lincoln Way West on Saturday night in Normal.
"It means a lot," said Fremd Athletic Director David Dick. "It's the school's first girls basketball championship. All the hard work these girls put in paid off. The girls really came together and succeeded."
In addition Ella Burns' hot hand helped her win the IHSA Queen of the Hill 3-point shooting contest before to the state title game.
"It's an incredible feeling," said Burns, who also scored a sizzling 35 on her ACT and is leaning toward studying at the University of Notre Dame. "I was super happy to win that 3-point contest, but even way more happier when our team won the whole thing."
Fremd's team included 11 seniors.
"I have never coached a team in which the girls care more about each other and less about individual glory," Yates told the boisterous crowd Monday. "They made plenty of personal sacrifices to become the best team in the state."
Forward Grace LaBarge was one of the best juniors in the state.
"It's unreal," she said. "It's going to be some big shoes next year. It will be a growing year and completely different, but we're going to get it done."
Yates began the rally by thanking everyone who helped this season -- the administration, especially Principal Kurt Tenopir and Dick, trainers, parents, students, fans and community members.
"And a thank you to coach (Lou) Sponsel (Fremd football coach) who has worked with this group the last four years and to the best coaching staff in the state (James Han, Steve Hernandez, Courtney Ludois, Maddie Junge)."