Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fremd defeated Highland Park...

...last night, 47-26, setting up what could be a great Sectional final tomorrow night against Stevenson. And I'll be there.

And so should you. Why? Because it will pit the No. 2 seed Vikings against the No. 1 seed Patriots. What's more, Fremd is undefeated at 28-0 and Stevenson is the defending 4A runner-up. How do they stack up in the rankings? Well, Fremd doesn't quite get the respect from the news services that you might expect (No. 7 in the Tribune, No. 11 in the Sun-Times and No. 12 in MaxPreps). Stevenson, meanwhile, is ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in all three -- and for good reason; they're that good. But undefeated is nothing to sniff at, especially when you've beaten Conant (twice), Naperville Central, St. Viator (by ten points!), Carmel, Evanston, Prospect and now Highland Park. (And most of those games were on the road.)

Now, do I think Fremd can take Stevenson? In a word, no. Especially if the Patriot team I saw against St. Viator shows up tomorrow night. (That squad could have beaten anybody, including Whitney Young.) And especially if Vikings' star Riley Glassmann only scores four points, like he did last night against the Bears. (As the guy behind me pointed out, they didn't need him. But tomorrow night, Glassmann will need to bring his "A" game.)

It could be a good matchup. While Stevenson is clearly the better team, Fremd's starting five: Ben Carson and Glassmann (pictured above), Garrett Groot, Xavier Williams and Matthew Ochoa (and Jalon Roundy coming off the bench) is pretty darn good. They're taller than the Patriots and should dominate the boards. The question is, of course, when you have shooters like Jalen Brunson, Connor Cashaw, Cameron Green, Parker Nichols, Matt Johnson and Matt Morrissey, will that really matter? I'll say no. But I'll be there, just in case. Either way, it should be a good contest.

P. S. Watch out for Highland Park next year. As far as I can tell, the Bears are only graduating one starter, Tommy Sutker. David Sachs (last night's high-scorer for HP), Luke Norcia, Jacob Iden, Hallvard Lundevall (sounds like an exchange student from Sweden) and Jordan Krawitz will all be back. This is a scrappy, well-coached team. If they could have shot just a little better last night it may have turned out much differently.

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