Fremd could not buy a basket Friday if there was a two-for-one sale at the dollar store.
The No. 14 Vikings scored just seven points in the second half, five from the free-throw line, as visiting Palatine rallied from early deficits of 9-2 and 18-13 to defeat Fremd 37-27 in both teams’ Mid-Suburban West opener.
After Hayley Gorecki’s rebound basket gave the hosts a 22-20 lead midway through the third quarter, Fremd went the final 12:32 without a single field goal.
“I thought we played real good defense, but there’s a certain point where you have to put the ball in the basket,” Fremd coach Dave Yates said. “We played excellent defense even through the middle of that fourth quarter. But you can’t keep missing shots.
“Give credit to them, they played good defense, too, but we have to put the ball in the basket,” he added. “We’ve been very capable of doing that all year. We just picked a bad time not to drop some shots.”
Bernie Williams’ layup gave Fremd 9-2 lead 31 seconds into the second quarter, but Palatine’s McKenzie Wiedemann made three three-pointers in the period to keep the hosts within arm’s length. Nia Pappas’ three got Palatine (5-1, 1-0) within 20-18 at the break.
“We attacked the lane, they would come out and we’d kick out to the shooter,” Pappas said. “McKenzie was on tonight. Maybe now people are going to start thinking Palatine is actually a threat this year.”
Despite its woes from the field, Fremd was still within 28-24 with 4:06 remaining. But a free throw by Palatine’s Erin Mayer and a basket by 6-foot-1 sophomore Monica Masini extended the lead to 31-24, more than enough cushion for the Pirates against the frigid-shooting hosts.
“I felt the first half was laborious for everybody,” Palatine coach Leslie Schock said. “It was very physical, very fast paced. We had two points in the first quarter and I said, ‘What’s going to win this game is our defense.’ They came out and proved that to be true.”
Wiedemann led Palatine with 13 points and Masini added 12 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots.
“She (Masini) made it hard for them to get a lot of layups driving to the basket,” Schock said. “She was frustrated that she had to sit a little in the first half with foul trouble, and I told her to take that frustration out on the floor in the second half.
“I told her, ‘They have no answer for you defensively, so go out there and show that to them,’” Schock said.
Gorecki led Fremd (5-2, 0-1) with nine points and 12 rebounds.