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FHS knocks off BC

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 by Katie McDonald kmcdonald@tnonline.com in Sports

Freedom did Freedom last Friday night, and they did it just fine.

That was the plan, going into their home girls’ basketball game against Bethlehem Catholic, where the Patriots came up with a 66-59 victory over the Hawks.

“I’m a senior, and I know I can speak for all the seniors when I say this was a very good win, and I’m so happy we got this, and I’m overwhelmed with how great I feel right now,” said Kyra Jefferson. “Yes, doing Freedom. This is definitely one of our high points in the season, and I’m excited to see more.”

Jefferson scored the first two of her 28 points of the game, but by the time the Hawks scored seven straight points among Taliyah Medina, Abby Brown, and Natalie Rhine in the first quarter, the Patriots had had enough and started their full court press.

A huge three pointer by Hailey Silfies in the second quarter cut the Hawks lead to three, and with Jefferson on fire, and Carissa Norder hitting her free throws, the halftime score was 29-29.

“I was definitely nervous because they were my first points for the game, but once I made the first one, the second one, I was like, all right, I can do this. My nerves went away instantly,” Norder said.

Two big blocks, one by Jennifer Kokolus and another by Rachel Sanchez in the first half, brought Patriot fans to their feet.

“Kyra, I thought, was phenomenal. It was great to see senior leadership. Hailey, Carissa, they all played really well, and it was a team win,” said Freedom coach Dean Reiman. “It was really important to win coming out of the locker room in the third quarter, and that was a great start for us in the second half.”

Corrin Gill put the Pates in the lead on foul shots, and Jefferson dribbled around the Hawks’ defense to score two more. Silfies scored on a putback, and Brenna Ortwein scored on a turnover.

“Coach said we’re here to score baskets,” said Jefferson. “At first it was a little tough, but just knowing my personnel and who’s guarding me, I was using my speed as an advantage against it.”

Silfies had a steal, resulting in a layup for Jefferson, and Kokolus scored from underneath on a pass from Silfies. Then, Norder hit a three that brought the house down.

“It was great, and it was a great momentum swing for the bench too because as soon as I made it, I heard everyone. I saw everyone get up and cheer. It was amazing. This is one of the only wins I wanted my entire high school career,” Norder said.

The Hawks put on the pressure in the fourth quarter, creating a turnover and a bucket by Brianna Barnard, a steal and a basket by Solei Rodriguez, and Morgan Orloski’s three pointer with 2:18 left made the score 55-53 Freedom.

The Patriots answered with deep inbounds passes from Brenna Ortwein to Silfies that resulted in points for Freedom.

“Freedom, they’ve been playing some good basketball. They came out. They made plays,” said Becahi coach Jose Medina. “I thought we did a good job in the first half, but then we kind of got away from our identity a little bit, and that was surprising to me, but hey, it’s good we find out about it now, so we’ll make the adjustments, and we’ll see them again in less than two weeks, so we can’t hang our heads. We’ve got to be ready to go.”

Gill, whose sore ankle did not prevent her from playing scrappy all night, scored the last point of the game on a foul shot.

“I rolled my ankle, but I kind of just played through it, and my team, the energy that our bench brought, and the fans just kept me going. Even if I missed, I knew we would get the rebound,” she said.

The Patriot win was a pretty big deal in more ways than one.

“Yes. It’s big to validate the hard work, number one team in the state at their level, a really good team in our league,” said Reiman. “We had Easton a few weeks back and couldn’t kind of finish that, so to actually get over the hump and to finish the game was really important, and it’s a Bethlehem city game, so that makes it a little bit more important.

“We were in the game with them two times last year, and just couldn’t get over that hump. It’s mental toughness and let’s give them their credit. They’re a great program and they’ve had a lot of success, so they know how to win. We didn’t do everything right down the stretch, but to find a way was really important, a really important part for us to take the next step.”