Schoffstall, Fremd hold off Palatine
Fremd's Eli Schoffstall makes no bones about it. With the game on the line, he wants the basketball.
So it came to pass Tuesday night at Fremd that Schoffstall came through in the clutch as the Vikings topped neighborhood rival Palatine 42-40 in a Mid-Suburban West boys game.
"This win felt great coming off our three-game losing streak," said Schoffstall. "We had a great mindset coming into this game. We love playing at home, this is our house, and we got it done tonight. Tonight was just a great atmosphere. We had to stay together and play a complete game."
With Barrington's win over Hoffman Estates, Palatine (18-8) and the Broncos are knotted at the top of the division with 6-2 records.
Schoffstall, who would score 22 points and had 4 steals, made a 3-point play with 1:21 left in the game that gave the Vikings (14-8, 4-4) the lead at 39-38. Grant Dersnah (12 points, 3 blocks) countered for Palatine seconds later to give the Pirates their last lead at 40-39.
Schoffstall sank 2 free throws with 42 seconds left for a 41-40 lead. He then hit the first of two to give Fremd a 42-40 lead with 11.4 seconds remaining.
"Going down the stretch I want the ball in my hands," said Schoffstall. "My players trust me and I trust them. Down the stretch I was there."
The crowd held its collective breath as Dersnah launched a long 3-point try that caromed off the backboard and then went in and out of the basket as the buzzer sounded.
Palatine suffered a big loss with 1:12 left in the first half when Tyler Swierczek had to leave the game with an injured left ankle. He would not return. Swierczek had scored all 10 of his points in the first half.
"Anytime a good player goes down it's going to test your toughness and you have to find a way to fix it real quick," said Palatine coach Eric Millstone. "I thought the guys who played for us in the second half put out a good effort. Credit to Fremd. They made shots when they needed it. This just added another chapter of another Palatine-Fremd game."
Dersnah and Connor May each scored baskets to start the third quarter to give Palatine a 26-19 lead.
Schoffstall nailed a 3-pointer that seemed to give the Vikings some momentum. With Schoffstall hitting another 3 sandwiched in between 2 baskets by Ryan Sammons, the Vikings led 32-30 going into the fourth quarter.
"Schoffstall is a gamer," said Fremd coach Bob Widlowski. "Often many times since he's been at Fremd, the brighter the lights and the bigger the stage, he steps up. He did the same in soccer last fall. He had a complete game for us against a tough Palatine team. We got out of here with a well-earned win tonight."
Palatine led 37-34 after Sam Millstone (11 points) hit a 3 with 5:44 left in the game.
Chris Smyros, who scored Fremd's first basket of the quarter then pulled the Vikings to within 37-36 before Schoffstall closed out the game.
Cameron Kuhl added 7 points and Sammons 5.