After trailing by as many as six points in the first half to the visiting Palatine Pirates, the Fremd Vikings boys basketball team dug deep defensively in the second half to prevail 51-37 in MSL West action.
Palatine lead 22-21 at intermission, but in what proved to be a pivotal third quarter, the Vikings outscored the Pirates 16-5 while holding its opponent to 20 percent (2-for-10) shooting from the field.
“Our guards led us in the second half, especially John (Smyros) and Dean (Ganas) did a real good job of spreading them out and running our stuff against them in the half court...we rebounded the ball much better in the second half and got some transition baskets off of those rebounds.”
Smyros led all scorers with 16 and Ganas added 10, but it was Smyros’ play early in the third quarter that was the difference.
After Fremd had regained the lead at 25-24 on a Bryce Hopkins jumper midway through the period, Smyros came up with a steal and layup while fouled to ignite the home crowd. He added the free throw for the 3-point play and the team never looked back.
“John took it hard to the basket and then got the AND 1 to give us a spread (28-24), then we got it to six (30-24) and got a couple nice stops...and then we were pretty solid defensively down the stretch in the fourth quarter.”
With the win, the Vikings (15-4) earned its third consecutive win and improved to 6-1 in the MSL West while the Pirates (8-13) dropped its fourth consecutive decision to move to 2-5 in the conference.
Marshawn Rayford led the Pirates with 13 points, 11 coming in the first half.