Bethlehem Press

Sunday, January 20, 2019
Press photo by Rob MerchantRachel Sanchez and the Freedom girls basketball team improved to 8-2 after beating Stroudsburg this past Saturday. Copyright - Digital_Media_Magic_LLC_Nazareth_PA Press photo by Rob MerchantRachel Sanchez and the Freedom girls basketball team improved to 8-2 after beating Stroudsburg this past Saturday. Copyright - Digital_Media_Magic_LLC_Nazareth_PA

FHS girls move to 8-2

Thursday, January 10, 2019 by Katie McDonald kmcdonald@tnonline.com in Sports

Freedom’s girls’ basketball team won its game against Stroudsburg on Saturday, 60-34, bringing their record to 8-2.

In one aspect, the defending district champion’s victory was a recovery from a 49-44 loss to Allentown Central Catholic two days earlier in which the Patriots were down 17 points at the half.

“I think we were due for somebody to, well, we were ripe for the picking ... and if that loss helps to propel us to understand how important it is to prepare, then that loss, down the road, may be worth it,” said Freedom coach Dean Reiman. “I want them to look at it as this is their team; this is their time. I want them to be the best version of themselves and whatever wins, whatever championships happen, you know, we could lose a district championship and play fantastic basketball and I’d be OK with that ... so I want them to focus on reaching their highest potential.”

On Saturday, it did not take long for the Patriots to shut down the Mountaineers’ Emily Strunk, who scored four points off the top.

“We had awareness of her and knew she was their best player and needed to stop her,” said Freedom guard Rachel Sanchez.

The Patriots proceeded to move the ball, find the open player, and share in the scoring with 21 points scored among five players in the first quarter.

“I think we’re a close group of girls and we started that last year and we brought that with us this year, and I think it helped us keep the same chemistry on the court,” Sanchez said.

After Thursday’s loss to Central, the Patriots knew there was nowhere to go but up.

“We knew we’d have to come out hard after a bad loss like that. We knew we had to pick it up, and we practiced really hard the night before,” said Freedom guard Yasmine Herrera. “We had to keep our energy up [after halftime], and even though we were up, it doesn’t mean they can’t come back.”

Sanchez opened the third quarter with a three, and Freedom forward Jennifer Kokolus scored six straight points in the same period.

“I think our team unity is really good,” said Reiman. “It’s one of our core values, and when they’re sharing the ball the way they did today, it’s a pretty effective way to play basketball. The more we can be selfless, the better team we are.

“We’re small and athletic, and we want to play fast. On offense and defense, we want to push the tempo and make teams play at a faster pace than they’re comfortable.”

The Patriots were able to maintain that pace through the fourth quarter.

“It’s really hard but we’re trying to focus on how important each moment is of that day, so honestly, the next biggest opportunity we have is Monday at practice, not Tuesday during a game, because if we look at Tuesday as the next big thing, we won’t prepare well on Monday,” Reiman said.

On Tuesday, the Patriots will have faced the Konkrete Kids at Northampton, past Press deadlines, before hosting Parkland on Friday.