Bolingbrook captured third place in Class 4A boys basketball with a tight 70-66 win over Fremd on Saturday night in Peoria.
The Raiders had a balanced scoring effort in which five players ended up in double-figures.
Senior Malik Binns led Bolingbrook with 18 points while senior Nana Akenten, a Nebraska commit, added 16 points for the Raiders. Sophomore Joseph Yesufu (12 points) knocked in two key free throws for the Raiders to make it a three-point game with under 10 seconds left while sophomore Tyler Cochran also added 11 points for Bolingbrook. Senior Kaleb Thornton rounded out the double-figure scorers for Bolingbrook by chipping in 10 points.
"Coming into the state tournament, Coach [Robert Brost] emphasized a lot that there's only two teams in the state able to win their last game," Akenten said. "Like Coach said, we wanted to play for the state championship, but we lost our last game, so we came out here and fought."
The Raiders (30-2) finish this season as champions of the SouthWest Suburban Blue while they were also ranked as the No. 1 team in the CSN Preps Power Rankings for a good chunk of time in the middle of the season. When you consider that this Bolingbrook team also added three offseason transfers and played a lot of underclassmen, it was a very successful season for Bolingbrook.
The third-place title for the Raiders is tied for the best finish ever for their boys basketball program after they also placed third in Class 4A in 2015.
"I just couldn't be prouder of our guys," Bolingbrook coach Robert Brost said.
"I'm so proud of these boys, not for the players that they are, but for the human beings they are. They geniunely care about each other. And they genuinely care about the coaching staff."
Finishing its season at 31-2, Fremd's fourth-place finish is tied for the best ever for school's boys basketball program as the Mid-Suburban League champions were led by senior Kyle Sliwa's 25 points.
Sliwa's three-pointer with 2:35 left gave the Vikings a 64-63 lead that they held for nearly two minutes until Binns made two free throws to give the Raiders the lead that they held for good.
Luke Schoffstall finished with 16 points for the Vikings while Ryan Martin also finished in double-figures with 11 points. Fremd has finished two of the last four seasons unbeaten in the regular season as the team's seniors are hoping to continue to lay a foundation for future Fremd basketball success.
"We had a pretty historic season. No one really expected us to be anything this year," Fremd senior Shaan Patel said. "We came out and we believed in ourselves when nobody else would believe in us. Between all of us, we've been playing together since the fourth grade, and we had confidence in each other."