North Catholic tops Freeport in matchup of section leaders

Thursday, January 2, 2020 | 11:44 PM

Despite facing a 21-point deficit after three quarters of Thursday’s Section 1-4A contest at North Catholic, the Freeport girls basketball team didn’t wave the white flag.

The Yellowjackets opened the final quarter with an 11-2 run to trim the Trojanette lead to 12.

But the margin was too large to fully overcome, and North Catholic, the top-ranked team in the classification, tallied the final seven points to cap a 61-42 victory.

“That’s the effort we’re looking for out of these players,” Freeport coach Fred Soilis said.

The Yellowjackets, now 5-4 overall and 3-1 in section play, will attempt to get back into the win column Monday as they travel to section foe Apollo-Ridge (4-5, 1-3).

“It’s tough to compete with (North Catholic), given the players and what they’re all about,” Soilis said. “But if we can put that effort into our performances the rest of the season, we’re going to be fine. They don’t need to hang their heads.”

North Catholic and Freeport will do battle again Jan. 27. Soilis said he hopes his team can do what it’s done the past two seasons and take care of business in section before arriving at the second opportunity with the Trojanettes.

Freeport returned to full strength at the West Shamokin Tournament last weekend. Senior starters Madeline Clark (knee) and Sidney Shemanski (back, illness) missed the majority of December, but both hope to help guide the team back to the WPIAL playoffs.

The Yellowjackets host Knoch (7-3, 4-0) next Thursday. The Knights scored a 23-point victory over Apollo-Ridge on Thursday, and they host Burrell on Monday in advance of the clash with Freeport.

North Catholic remained undefeated, improving to 7-0 overall and 3-0 in the section.

“Freeport always comes out against us ready to play,” North Catholic coach Molly Rottman said. “They are a veteran team, and we’ve battled them the past couple of years. I know every game against them will be that way.”

Thursday’s game was up-tempo and intense from the opening tip. Freeport used the pace to its advantage, and led by seven points from freshman Melaina Dezort, it was in front 11-8 with 3 minutes, 11 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Yellowjackets forced five North Catholic turnovers in that opening stretch.

But the Trojanettes began to control the boards while Freeport started to miss shots.

North Catholic closed the opening frame on an 11-0 run to lead 19-11, and it pushed the advantage to 13 in the opening minute of the second quarter on a layup from Tess Myers and a 3-pointer from Lucy Waskiewicz.

Myers scored 15 of her game-best 21 points in the first half as North Catholic led 39-18 at the break. She finished with a double-double, adding 10 rebounds.

Senior Louisa Fennell paced the Freeport fourth-quarter run with a trio of 3-pointers. She had four in all for a team-high 12 points.

“She’s done that in a couple of games. She’s given us some key shots,” Soilis said. “She can shoot.”

Dezort picked up her third foul late in the first quarter and had to take a seat for the rest of the first half. She sank a pair of shots in the third quarter and finished with 11 points. Samantha Clark added 10 for the Yellowjackets.

Kylee Lewandowski hit four 3-pointers as part of a 16-point effort for North Catholic.

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

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