Fremd's experience too much for St. Viator

By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/30/2021 9:55 PM

Experience won out over youth Tuesday night at St. Viator's Cahill Gymnasium.

Fremd, which started three seniors, came in to Arlington Heights and came away with a 55-36 nonconference boys basketball victory over the Lions.


Viator included two freshmen and three juniors in its opening lineup, and they took a lead into halftime before falling victim to a big third-quarter surge by the Vikings.

"Fremd is a veteran, experienced, well-coached team," said Viator coach Michael O'Keeffe. "We thought pressuring them with our full court man defense would take them out of what they wanted to do, but to their credit they were composed and calm under pressure."

The Vikings broke the game open with a 9-0 run to start the third quarter, a period in which 6-foot-3 junior guard Ryan Sammons scored 15 of his game-high 21 points.

"Ryan has been rock solid for us all year," said Fremd coach Bob Widlowski, "and I thought as a whole we really played team basketball on the defensive end -- and starting with about three minutes left in the second quarter, on the offensive end as well."

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O'Keeffe added that the quick start by the Vikings after intermission was the key to the game.

"Fremd plays their style of basketball year in and year out, no matter what type of kids they have on the team or in the program," said O'Keeffe.

"That nine-point run they had in the first minute and a half of the third quarter took the wind out of the sails. You get down by 10 points to Fremd, it can feel like you're down by 25, based on how disciplined and how fundamentally sound they are."

Eight quick points by Viator freshman Josiah Calvin sparked the Lions to an early lead, and the home team sustained the effort into the second period, leading 25-24 at the half.

"I thought we were moving the ball well in the first half," said O'Keeffe, "getting a lot of paint touches, getting transition offense and knocking down a lot of shots."


A jumper from Fremd senior Eli Schoffstall (11 points) seconds after the start of the third put the Vikings up by 1, a lead they would not relinquish.

A layup midway through the third stanza by Schoffstall put Fremd up by 10, and then a 3-pointer by Sammons extended the advantage.

A great pass from Schoffstall to Sammons for a layup with 3:48 remaining in the game put the Vikings up by 20, and Viator couldn't get much closer.

Lions junior Hunter Duncan led his team with 10 points, while Caden Suchy added 8 points for the Vikings.

Fremd was a very efficient 3-of-5 from 3-point range, with one of the misses coming on a three-quarter court heave at the halftime buzzer.

"Our rebounding was strong," said Widlowski, "and we were very solid defensively. Holding Viator to 36 points is a very difficult task -- they've got a lot of weapons."

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