Freeport boys basketball team pounces early, beats Valley in Tip-Off Classic

Saturday, December 3, 2022 | 6:46 PM

A nightmarish first quarter for Valley on Saturday led to Freeport’s first boys basketball victory of the season, 55-33.

The Vikings went scoreless in the first quarter as Freeport jumped out to a 20-0 lead. But the teams were nearly even for the rest of the game.

Brady Sullivan led the Yellowjackets (1-1) with 17 points and seven rebounds, and Ben Lane added 12 in the Freeport Tip-Off Classic.

Valley committed 12 turnovers in the first quarter and managed just two shots off in its first nine possessions.

The Vikings had considerable trouble with Freeport’s full-court pressure. Even when Valley got the ball over the midcourt line, a miscue would often result.

“It’s really something we don’t do a whole lot,” Yellowjackets coach Sean Devinney said of applying a full-court press. “If we think that a particular matchup, that could be the key to success, we’ll go outside the box. We did a good job of speeding them up and turning it over that early. We just didn’t sustain it.”

By contrast, Freeport committed just one turnover in the opening quarter.

Valley perked up when sophomore Jacob Staraniec hit a 3-pointer 40 seconds into the second quarter. Stareniec hit two more 3s, and Jayden Richter was 4 of 4 from the foul line in the quarter, and the Vikings trailed just 31-22 at the halftime.

“We’re very inexperienced. We’re very young. We have three guys who never played before,” said Vikings coach John Stone. “I’m proud that we got down and turned it around, scoring 21 in that second period. They clawed, they fought and they never rolled over. All I’m trying to do is get these kids experience before section play starts.”

Sullivan hit a 3-pointer 17 seconds into the third quarter, and the Yellowjackets ended the period with a 9-0 run to lead 46-25 after three. The late burst included a 3 in the final 30 seconds by Sullivan.

“We shot it from the outside today more than we like to, but we’ve got to get the ball inside and get some easy buckets,” Devinney said. “Brady’s one of our better shooters, and the one really gave us a lot of momentum.”

Said Stone: “We’re learning. We worked with our hearts. Sean has those guys playing well. They had everybody coming back. He’s building a great program out here. I’m trying to do the same at Valley. We just have more obstacles to work with.”

The Yellowjackets basically dribbled out the final two minutes of play to record the victory over the Vikings (0-2).

Staraniec led Valley with 11 points, and 6-foot-5 center Mickael Allen collected eight rebounds to make his presence known in the middle.

Said Stone: “(Mickael’s) is 6-5. He’s a tough kid. He’s still learning. He’s raw and green. Once it comes and when it clicks, it’s going to help everybody on that team.”

Valley outrebounded Freeport, 29-21.

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