Hoffman Estates beats Fremd for the first time since 2016
The Hawks took the lead in the third quarter and never looked back on the way to a 46-37 victory, their first against Fremd since January 2016.
Fremd and Hoffman Estates looked closer than just Mid-Suburban League West conference foes on Thursday in Palatine. The game took on the look of an older brother against a younger brother in the driveway, especially early.
The Vikings were the older sibling, physical and demanding, backing their way into the post and expecting to assert dominance. Hoffman Estates was the younger brother, possibly more talented but still finding its footing.
A burst of speed and energy to open the third quarter ended all that. The Hawks took the lead and never looked back on the way to a 46-37 victory, their first against Fremd since January 2016.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was amazing right now,” Hoffman Estates senior Darien Irvin said. “It’s an honor to be on this team. There’s a lot of stuff going on in the world. And a lot of stuff going on with all of us and we really just hold each other together.”
Fremd (13-8, 3-4) has been one of the area’s most consistent programs over the last decade and the Hawks have struggled, so that 11-game losing streak isn’t a huge surprise. McBride took over at Hoffman Estates this season so only one of those games, a 62-36 loss on Dec. 23, came on his watch.
“We wanted to leave a legacy,” Hawks senior Mike Vuckovic said. “Most of the team are seniors and we want to make sure we leave Hoffman better than it was before.”
Vuckovic scored 17 and had five rebounds. He’s averaging 18 points this season.
“We look to him when we need to get a good look,” McBride said. “But I’m really proud of the various contributions we’ve gotten from all the guys. We’ve had different guys step up in different games. That’s what I love about this team, not caring who gets the credit and who is scoring the points.”
Hoffman Estates (18-4, 4-3) trailed by three points at halftime. DJ Wallace, a 6-7 junior, opened the third quarter with a three-point play. That ignited an 11-0 run for the Hawks. Fremd never led again.
“We knew we had to turn it up a notch,” said Hoffman Estates senior Darien Irvin, who had a big steal and dunk during the run. “The team rallied together and we started feeding off the crowd.”
Irvin finished with 10 points and seven rebounds and Nick Vuckovic scored nine points.
“This win means a lot,” McBride said. “It required a different level of effort and physicality. I thought we responded after they knocked us in the mouth early and I thought we looked like us toward the end.
Junior Caiden Suchy was a warrior in the post and finished with 12 points and nine rebounds. Junior Ryan Sammons added nine points and Eli Schoffstall scored eight for the Vikings.
Watch the final minute of Hoffman Estates at Fremd: