Lyons Township hands Fremd a loss at CIC showcase
Less than 15 hours after a big Mid-Suburban West homecourt victory over rival Barrington, Fremd's girls basketball team was right back on its own floor to compete in the Chicagoland Invitational Classic on Saturday afternoon.
Because of that time frame, coach Dave Yates was concerned how his team would react for another big challenge against Lyons Township.
"I had no idea how we were going to come out," said Yates, who led the Vikings to the 2019 Class 4A state championship. "I knew it was going to be a tough one after how emotional and physically draining our game was the night before."
Yates was right on target as Lyons (5-1) was able to rally from a 16-6 first-quarter deficit and take a 47-39 triumph from the Vikings (6-3), who had edged Barrington 40-39 before a big crowd on Friday night.
"I thought we had a really good start which was great to see," Yates said.
That great start saw the Vikings break out to an 11-4 lead, jump-started by sophomore Brynn Eshoo's bucket, followed by a 3-pointer from Nikky Gonella and another layup by Eshoo.
Gonnella's back-to-back baskets (driving 6-footer and a 3-point play) gave Fremd its biggest lead at 16-6.
A free throw by freshman Ella Todd made it 19-11 early in the second quarter but Lyons gradually clawed its way back and got to within 22-19 with 2:12 left in the period. Fremd led 24-18 at half.
"During that second quarter you saw our energy level and execution start to slide," Yates said. "But credit Lyons. They started picking it up, playing better and better, and we just couldn't get ourselves over that hump."
The Lions played their best to start the second half.
Coach Meghan Hutchens' club produced a 15-2 run, capped by senior Olivia Mezan's 3-pointer with 1:47 left in the third quarter that made it 33-26.
Maddy Fay's layup with 6:05 left in the fourth quarter got Fremd to within 35-33 but the Lions went on a 7-0 run and Fremd never got closer than 5 points.
"They stuck some big shots, so credit them," Yates said.
A lot of those big shots came from senior guard Hailey Markworth, who scored a game-high 19 points, including 5 of 7 free throws.
"Hailey takes a lot of pressure off everyone," said Hutchens, whose team's only loss is to Benet. "Our young sophomore (Elin O'Brien who had 2 3-pointers) hit a few shots and I believe Olivia Mezan found her shot on the arc (10 points including 2 3-pointers)."
"We have a balanced group so every game there seems to be a different leading scorer every game which makes me happy. That means everyone has the opportunity to score and there's always someone for the other team to watch."
Fremd was led by Gonnella's 10- points, followed by Todd (7), Kace Urlacher (6) and Fay (6).
"Nikky has been giving us some really good, consistent play," Yates said. "Our challenge now is to find others to try and continue that. When we made little mistakes, they made us pay. And that's a credit to them. They are well coached."
"Our kids are just taking each game as it comes," Hutchens added. "Fremd is really well coached and they came out firing. When we got down, we were just trying to change things up by pressing and trying to get the kids to attack the basket so they'd get into the flow of the game."