Knoch girls start fast, roll past rival Freeport

Monday, January 18, 2021 | 10:12 PM

The Knoch girls basketball team scored the first eight points in Monday’s Section 1-4A contest with rival Freeport at Freeport Middle School.

The Knights, No. 3 in the latest Triblive HSSN Class 4A rankings, quickly developed a double-digit advantage in the opening stanza and didn’t let up en route to a 54-27 victory.

“That was important, especially when you are on the road,” Knoch coach Chris Andreassi said. “(Freeport coach) Fred (Soilis) does such a great job with his girls. They play good defense always, and their shooters are good, too. We talked about that for a couple of practices; we needed to get off to a fast start.”

Knoch and Freeport split their section series last year as the teams finished tied for second place in the Section 1 standings behind North Catholic.

The Yellowjackets (1-1, 1-1) still lead the current section series, which began in 2016, by a 6-3 count. The teams are scheduled for a rematch Feb. 11 at Knoch.

Knoch also won at Freeport for the first time since the 2014 season-opening Freeport tournament.

The Knights, who improved to 3-0 both overall and in section play, led 39-12 at halftime. Eight players scored for Knoch over the first 16 minutes.

“We definitely have girls who can shoot the basketball, and coming off the bench, too,” Andreassi said. “We have pretty good balance, and we need more and more to get the younger girls into the flow. They played really well in the second quarter.”

Freeport, which committed 10 of its 20 turnovers in the first quarter, trimmed a 14-point Knoch lead at the end of one to 24-11 at the midway point of the second quarter on two free throws from Melaina Dezort and a jumper from Grace Soilis.

But it was all Knights through the remainder of the half as they outscored the Yellowjackets 15-1.

Sophomore Megan Vasas had seven points in the second quarter, hit double-figures by halftime (10) and finished the game with a team-best 12 points to go along with seven rebounds.

“She’s our post,” Andreassi said. “She’s not the tallest post in the world, but she plays big. She plays tall. She’s a great athlete. She’s got great feet and can run.”

Fellow sophomore Nina Shaw added 11 points, while junior Madilyn Boyer added seven. Senior Nevaeh Ewing, who hit seven 3-pointers and finished with 25 points last Thursday against Deer Lakes, was limited to four points against the Yellowjackets.

“We knew what (Knoch) was capable of,” Soilis said. “We thought we could match up and slow them down at certain positions. I think we accomplished that with Nevaeh. I think (senior) Grace (Soilis) did a good job of D’ing her up. The problem is that they have other scorers. This is only our second game, but I am not going to make excuses. They are a good team, and we didn’t play well. We had too many breakdowns.”

Freeport’s Dezort led all scorers with 14 points.

Ava Soilis, who led the Yellowjackets with a career-best 20 points in a season-opening win over Highlands on Thursday, was limited to just three points against the Knights on Monday.

Both teams now turn their attention to Deer Lakes. Knoch will have a rematch with the Lancers on Thursday, while Freeport is off until its matchup with Deer Lakes on Monday.

The Lancers improved to 2-1 in the section with a 50-42 win over Highlands on Monday.

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

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