Freeport girls basketball looking for sustained success

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Saturday, November 23, 2019 | 10:59 PM


The Freeport girls basketball team is hoping to carry over its momentum from last season.

The Yellowjackets won 18 games last winter and earned the fourth seed, but they lost in the first round to No. 13 Quaker Valley.

Fred Soilis’ team didn’t shoot that well that night, but it was the Yellowjackets’ third consecutive trip to the playoffs, a sign of long-term success.

“We’re trying to create a program that continues to feed itself,” Soilis said. “We can’t just have one group and nothing behind them. The whole key is to develop a program, have consistency and see the program through top to bottom, not just at the high school level.”

Soilis said the program has good numbers below the varsity level, and his team is deep, as well.

Freeport returns four starters, led by A-K Valley Player of the Year Sidney Shemanski. The others are senior twins Madeline and Samantha Clark and senior Harley Holloway, who transferred to Freeport before last season.

Soilis said he expects senior Louisa Fennell and sophomore Grace Soilis to make an impact. Several newcomers also figure to play roles.

Shemanski averaged a team-best 14.6 points last season. She also led the team in rebounding (9.0), assists (4.1) and steals (3.6).

“Hopefully we can get more consistency from her, and there’s a lot to be excited about (in general),” Soilis said. “Fennell should play a role and help. My daughter, Grace, should have an active role, too.”

Soilis said sophomore Leah Hartman should provide an added inside presence.

“We have some freshmen coming in that have some skill that we hope will buy in to our system,” Soilis said. “Hopefully they will be able to give some breaks to some of those starters. We hope all of those players contribute, so I don’t want to single anyone out from that group.”

The Yellowjackets lost two pieces: starter Haley Graham and reserve Ally DeJidas.

“Haley was a starter and fluctuated in terms of her scoring, but point-wise, I’m not sure we lost a lot,” Soilis said. “That’s not to say the two of them weren’t big pieces, but we can make up the points with some of our returning girls. We were competitive even in some of our losses last year. I like our returners and leadership.”

Several players achieved success in the fall. Shemanski was a standout on the soccer team, and others, including the Clarks, are part of the volleyball team that recently won the WPIAL title.

The season opens Dec. 6 in the Southmoreland Tip Off Tournament. The section schedule begins Dec. 12 against Greensburg Salem.

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