Boys' basketball falls to Fremd


By Paul Evers, staff writerIMG_2943
The Knights took on the Fremd Vikings on Friday night, looking to win a regional championship for the first time since 2009. They fell down early 6-0, but the Knights would not quit.
Sophomore David Swedura opened the Knights’ scoring with a three pointer, closing the gap to 6-3. Juniors Frankie Mack and Michael Ritchie scored back-to-back baskets to put the Knights up 7-6.
Unfortunately, the Knights would never lead again. The Knights fell 64-47 to the Vikings, ending their season in the Barrington regional final.
Mack lead the Knights with 17 points and converting 6 of his 7 attempts at the free throw line. Swedura put up 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting from the inside and 1-of-2 from behind the three-point arc.
The Vikings dominated inside, getting 13 points and 4 rebounds from both senior Patrick Benka and junior Brian Dompke. Junior Kyle Sliwa lead the Vikings with 14 points on 3-of-6 shooting inside and 2-of-3 on three pointers.
After the Knights led in the first quarter, the Vikings scored five unanswered taking a 11-7 lead. Junior Matt Szuba hit a buzzer beating three to close the quarter and only leave the Knights trailing by one, 11-10, heading into the second quarter.
The Vikings came out blazing, with senior Connor Simios (9 points, 3-of-5 on three pointers) hitting two straight threes to open the quarter and take a 17-11 lead. The Knights stuck with the Vikings, only trailing 26-21 at the half.
The Knights closed the gap to three, 26-23, after a huge block leading to a transition layup for Mack. Sliwa hit a three pointer for Fremd, but Mack came down and answered with an and-one layup closing the gap back to three in a 29-26 game.
Then Fremd went on a 6-0 run over the next minute and a half, putting the Knights behind 35-26. After making a few baskets, the Knights trailed 37-30 heading into the final quarter.
The start of the fourth is when Fremd took control of the game for good. They engineered an 11-2 run over the first three minutes of the quarter.
Coach John Camardella reflected on the runs in the second half that put his team out of contention.
“The game got away from us, really unfortunate,” Camardella said. “Once we got down, obviously we had to press a little bit, and you have to give Fremd credit. They do not turn the ball over. Credit them, they straight-up won the game. I’m very very proud of our effort, and we just came up a little short in the other stuff.”
The Vikings led by double digits the rest of the way. Camardella brought in his senior group for one last time with about a minute and a half left in the game.
Camardella focused on this year’s seniors after the game instead of the young players that led this year’s team.
“[We] had a very special and selfless group of seniors that we will miss a lot next year,” Camardella said.
However with those young players in mind, Camardella decided to start junior Michael Ritchie and Swedura after their impressive performances off the bench in the regional semifinal.
“They came off and they both played extremely well two nights ago. Like I said on Wednesday, we have seven or eight starters, and our guys are very selfless.”
Even with the tough loss after an excited postseason run, Camardella pointed out what his team did instead of what they didn’t do.
“Just how proud I was of them, these guys have been so close so many times this year,” Camardella said. “I told them to just be proud of that effort.”
While Camardella applauded the team for what they accomplished, he still knows his team needs to learn from this experience. He wants them to take something away from this tough loss.
“[Remember] the little things. It’s a game of inches,” Camardella said. “To try and win as many of those little things and to control the things we can control.”
With this being the last game of the season, Camardella knows this team will stick out in his mind.
“I’m going to have really good memories with these guys,” Camardella said. “I just had so much fun coaching them.”