Fremd starts fast, bests Naperville Central for Lakes crown
It is a good thing Fremd has fingernails.
After leading by 16 midway through the third quarter, the Vikings needed those nails to hang on to a 60-55 win over Naperville Central Monday in the championship game of the Lakes Martin Luther King tournament in Lake Villa.
"We had a very good second half on Saturday and a very good second half today," Fremd coach Bob Widlowski said. "We knew Naperville Central was coming. What we were particularly pleased about was that we weathered the storm, didn't blink, got some stops and hit our free throws."
Fremd (13-5) needed that clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch to post the win. Leading 54-50 on a layup by Cameron Kuhn (13 points), the Vikings were able to get a pair of free throws from Chris Smyros (8 points, 9 rebounds), Aaron Orido and Eli Schoffstalll (13 points) to keep Naperville Central at bay.
"I thought we played some great basketball today," said Schoffstall, who scored 8 points in the fourth quarter and was 6-for-6 from the line then.
"We have been playing some good basketball recently. When it comes down the stretch, we look to finish. And that's what we did today. "
Caiden Suchy, who finished with 12 points and 6 rebounds, led the charge early. Suchy scored 8 of his points in the first quarter and the Vikings pounded the boards with a 12-3 advantage in the period as Fremd built a 22-10 lead.
"I thought as a whole we were pretty heated up the first half," Suchy said. "When we get in the middle we are able to kick it out and get more shots."
Fremd led 31-20 at the half and increased its lead to 38-22 on a 3-pointer by Ryan Sammons (7 points).
Naperville Central (13-5) finally was able to get some momentum.
The Redhawks chipped away at the Fremd lead thanks to the play of Jonah Hinton. The senior guard scored 10 of his 25 points in the third quarter as Naperville Central trailed 41-32.
Fremd still appeared to be in command when Schoffstalll hit a pair of free throws with 6:10 to play to make it 46-34.
Naperville Central then rode a trio of free throws and 8 points by Mantas Zilys. The Redhawks closed to 46-45 on a three-point play by Zilys, who scored 12 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter.
The Redhawks were able to get within one on two other occasions, the final time on a basket by Hinton with 2:24 to play. but Naperville Central could not get over the hump.
"We were lucky to have the deficit of 11 points at the end of the first half, " Naperville Central coach Pete Kramer said. "I don't think we played a very good half. But in the second half, the kids got after it and really battled. We gave ourselves a chance to win. We had some opportunities and we needed some stops and we didn't get them."