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Early deficit doesn't panic Fremd
By John Leusch | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 2/16/2012 1:14 AM

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When Deerfield rallied for a 7-5 lead in the first four minutes, Fremd's girls basketball players were hardly panicking on Wednesday night.

"We just had to wake up and get focused," said Vikings junior forward Bernie Williams. "It's much easier for us to play when we pick things up and get mentally prepared."

The Vikings showed they were plenty prepared with all their versatile weapons ready to accelerate.

A steal and layup by Williams ignited a 30-4 run and the Mid-Suburban West champs never looked back in a 60-35 triumph in the Class 4A Hersey regional semifinal at Ken Carter Gymnasium in Arlington Heights.

Top-seeded Fremd (22-5) advanced to Friday's 7:30 p.m. championship and will face No. 8 Zion-Benton (19-8).

After Williams' bucket tied the game at 7-7, classmate Marilyn Lortz rebounded her own miss for a 9-7 lead.

Moments later, Williams (6 points) gave Fremd the lead for good with a layup that made it 11-9.

Valparaiso-bound Jessie Wiedemann then hit 2 free throws and tossed home a 3-pointer to start a string of 19 unanswered points.

Wiedemann and junior Ashley McConnell led the Vikings with 19 points apiece while freshman Haley Gorecki chipped in 9.

"They (Fremd) are just good shooters," said Deerfield coach Mike Muldrow. "Even when you are playing great defense, they find ways of scoring.

"They score with jumpers or in transition. Their transition game is great. They fly down court."

Muldrow talked to his team about getting back on defense at the break.

"We did a little better job in the second half but by then the damage was done," he said. "We don't have the offensive firepower to come back from that kind of deficit."

Wiedemann hit both of her 3-pointers in the first half while McConnell tossed in two from long range in the third quarter.

"When we move the ball around on offense, we do a good job, because so many people can score," said Wiedemann, who made 9-of-9 free throws. "We weren't really worried at the start because we knew it was a long game."

Deerfield (6-21) won its play-in game on Tuesday 40-37 over Lake Forest.

"That's (play-in game) an advantage," said Fremd coach Dave Yates. "We had been off almost a week. They made some shots early and it just took us a while to get going.

"Jessi (Wiedemann) did a nice job knocking in 3-pointers and playing the high post job against the zone."

Fremd held the Warriors under double digits each quarter.

Deerfield's top scorer was senior Elizabeth Yucknut, who scored 7 points and had the 3-pointer that gave her team its last lead at 7-5.