New Freeport girls basketball coach Ketterer is familiar face
Tuesday, June 6, 2023 | 6:55 PM
Mallory Heinle Ketterer knows the Freeport girls basketball program inside and out.
She spent the past four years as an eighth-grade coach and varsity assistant to Fred Soilis.
That experience, she hopes, will serve her well as she continues to transition in her new role as Freeport’s new girls head coach.
“There is a lot of excitement in the program,” Ketterer said. “We lost some really good players to graduation, but that just really opens up the opportunity for these young kids to step up and showcase different parts of their games.
“So far, all of our workouts have been high energy, and the girls have shown a great attitude. We have good kids who work hard. The excitement the girls bring to the gym keeps me excited and gets us going for the season.”
Soilis stepped down in early March after eight seasons as Freeport coach. His youngest daughter, Ava, was a senior on the team this past season, and she recently graduated from Freeport. That, along with his continued career as a lawyer, made him feel it was time to move on.
“(Coach Soilis) and I had conversations for some time about that being the expected plan and also the timeline,” said Ketterer, who was hired by the school board May 10.
Ketterer met with the players and coaches soon after her hire and got right to work. That includes play in the Fox Chapel spring/summer league, which runs for another two weeks.
From there, she said, open-gym workouts and informal scrimmage opportunities against other local schools will take the team through the summer and into the fall.
“This (rising) senior class, I have had them since eighth grade. It feels really special to have had that bond with them for so long. Coach Soilis was great in helping me and prepping me for the day I would get the opportunity to step up and be a head coach. I was excited to make this transition, and I had a lot of people supporting me.”
The Natrona Heights native lettered all four years with St. Joseph and was a third-team all-state selection as a senior in 2014.
Ketterer went on to play at Slippery Rock, where she started 54 games and finished second all-time in games played, sixth in offensive rebounds and 10th in blocked shots at the conclusion of her four seasons.
“I was blessed to play for a lot of really great coaches throughout high school, AAU and college,” Ketterer said.
“I also got to witness great coaches in action from other teams. It really opened my eyes to the impact coaches can have on the game and on kids. From early on in college, I had made it my goal to be a teacher and coach in the same district and impact players and families the best way that I could.”
Said Soilis: “We knew it would be great to have her coaching with us because she already was a teacher in the Freeport district, and she would see these kids all the time and would be a great voice for the program.
“I told her when she came on board that there was the intent for her to take over when I was done, and everything fell into place. She’s done a tremendous job with the girls since she’s been here. She played the game at a high level, and she knows the game so well.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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