Fremd continued their tour of the all-state first team in the state semi-finals.
This time around, the Vikings topped Darrione Rogers’ Lake Park squad, 46-34 to advance to the state final for the third time in six years.
“We played Halle Douglass two games ago, then we played Dugalic last game, that’s what we did every time,” said Fremd head coach Dave Yates. “We obviously showed help when we needed to. Caroline did a wonderful job but I think the others helped too.”
Despite having players like Emily Klaczek and Olivia Hill who have made the trip down state before as Freshman, it was the first timers in Lake Park that got out to the hot start.
The Lancers took an early 7-1 lead behind Ellie Helm, and of course Rogers who led all scorers with 24 points on the night.
While Rogers was extremely efficient early on, Fremd and Caroline Cochran who drew the main assignment and limited the first team all-stater to just 10 points in the second half.
“Coach said at the beginning of the week that we just need to fight,” said Cochran. “I felt like at the beginning of the game I was ready and I’m still good to go [for tomorrow].”
Fremd would get it going offensively in the second half, forcing the ball into the interior, finding driving lanes, all while taking a bit of physical punishment, but their preparation throughout the season prepared them for the grind.
“Our team has done a great job working when huge games weren’t necessarily coming up,” said Fremd’s Ruthie Montella. “During the summer we push each other really hard, we’re always in the wright room and I feel like our toughness in there translates to the court.”
“We also played a lot of talented, physical teams,” added Yates. “Nobody wanted to play us at home this year and we took them all. We went on the road and played a lot of tough teams and I think that helped us.”
The Vikings would take an eight point lead midway through the third quarter, and closed out the contest with good ball control and solid shooting from the free-throw line.
Lake Park didn’t quite have the firepower to take down the experienced Vikings, but certainly made an impact on their first trip to Redbird Arena.
“We did a total 180 on the culture of the program, and it’s everyone involved especially the players, they are the culture of this program,” said Lake Park head coach Brian Rupp. “It’s been an impressive turn aournd but it’s been our players. Darrione has done so much for our program and the ripple effect I think she’s going to have on our program is going to be huge.
Fremd will play the winner of Lincoln-Way West and Bolingbrook in the final game of the girls basketball calendar on Saturday night.