Freeport girls run win streak to seven, top Burrell to clinch playoff spot

Thursday, January 23, 2020 | 10:28 PM

The Freeport girls basketball team hasn’t lost since a Jan. 2 setback at North Catholic.

The Yellowjackets ran their winning streak to seven games Thursday with a 61-33 Section 1-4A victory at Burrell and remained on a roll heading into Monday’s rematch with the Trojanettes.

“I was pleased with the whole game,” Freeport coach Fred Soilis said. “There are some small things we can work on, but the effort was there, and we got everybody in the game. It was a great team-effort game. There was a lot of good energy from everyone, and that’s what I’ve always asked for. When you keep up the energy and consistency, good things happen.”

Soilis will no doubt seek energy and consistency when Freeport welcomes North Catholic to Freeport Middle School. The Yellowjackets now are 12-4 overall and 9-1 in the section, and Thursday’s win clinched another WPIAL playoff trip.

North Catholic, No. 1 in Class 4A, raced past Highlands on Thursday and upped its record to 15-1, 10-0 in the section.

“(The playoffs) are definitely in the back of our minds because everyone wants to go far in the playoffs, but we definitely are just focusing now on Monday because it’s such a big game,” said Samantha Clark, who reached double figures against the Bucs, finishing with 10 points.

“We say it a lot, but we just want to take it one game at a time right now.”

Sidney Shemanski led all scorers with 19 points and is averaging 15 a contest in Freeport’s winning streak. She had seven at the break but added 12 in the third quarter alone.

She hit 6 of 7 from the foul line in the third quarter and was 9 of 11 for the game.

Melaina Dezort scored seven of her nine points in the first quarter as Freeport got out of the gate quickly at both ends of the court.

Seven Yellowjackets players found the scoresheet over the first eight minutes, and the Freeport defense turned Burrell over 12 times.

That translated into a 27-5 lead after one.

“We came out a little slow the last two games, so we wanted to make sure we came out really strong this time,” Samantha Clark said. “We did a good job with our press and getting steals that set up easy buckets. We were able to keep the pressure on them.”

Grace Soilis finished with eight points for Freeport, while Maddie Clark added six points, all from the free throw line in the first quarter. The Yellowjackets drained 18 of 21 from the foul line overall.

Sophomores Olivia Watts and Allison Fisher combined to score 31 of Burrell’s 33 points.

Watts led the way with 17 points, and Fisher collected a trio of 3-pointers on the way to 14 points.

Riley Sterlitz and Addy Landowski collected seven rebounds apiece.

“Freeport is a prime example of a team that is solid because they have played together for a long time,” said Burrell coach Joel Ceraso, who saw his team fall to 2-13 overall and 1-9 in section play.

“We’re a team that doesn’t have nearly that much experience. (Freeport’s) players do a good job of getting open to receive a pass where we’re still struggling to get to that point more consistently.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .

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