Archive

ShareThis Page
Freeport girls to rely on depth in drop to Class AA | TribLIVE.com
News

Freeport girls to rely on depth in drop to Class AA

Tribune-Review
| Monday, November 24, 2014 11:24 p.m.
vndfreeportgirls112514
Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Freeport's Zoe Soilis enters Freeport High School Gym during Blue and Gold Madness on Monday November 24, 2014.

While competing in Section 1-AAA alongside large schools such as Hampton and Mars in recent years, the Freeport girls basketball team found its depth couldn’t match up at times.

Those problems are now gone. Not only is Freeport dropping to Class AA for the 2014-15 season, but the Yellowjackets also boast a deep and versatile roster of 20 players.

“I think we have some depth where if we get (into foul trouble), we have the bodies to fill in,” coach Paul Sylba said. “Some of the other girls play multiple positions, whether it’s inside or outside. I think that’s going to be more of a luxury.”

Freeport qualified for the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs last season after finishing fourth in its section. The Yellowjackets lost to West Mifflin in a preliminary-round game.

Three starters return for Freeport, including three-year starters in seniors Haley Conner and Macy Smolic and a three-year starter in junior Zoe Soilis.

Soilis (15.1 points per game), Freeport’s leading scorer last season, and Smolic (9.6) can play both guard and forward, while Conner (4.9 ppg) adds experience on the perimeter.

“Zoe is a good scorer. She can score inside and outside,” Sylba said. “Macy is a great inside player who can take somebody off the dribble to the basket, so she’s going to be a tough matchup.

“Haley’s just matured over the years and has really become a pretty sharp ball-handler and tough defender.

“We’re expecting not only good things from them, but leadership in showing the younger girls how it’s done. Coaches can say anything, but the girls watch what the seniors and juniors do and how they conduct themselves in practice. That says volumes.”

While Freeport benefits from its three returning starters, how well the Yellowjackets fare likely depends on how some of their other players can handle increased roles.

Seniors Carli Schwickrath and Megan Minyon both return on the inside. Minyon split time between the varsity, where she played forward, and junior varsity, where she played guard, so she should add some more versatility to the Yellowjackets’ lineup.

Senior Megan Manke and junior Natalie Dell add depth on the inside, and sophomore Abree Cowen can play any of the guard positions, Sylba said.

“I could see us playing nine or 10 (players) a game, depending on the situation,” Sylba said.

Freeport’s players worked extensively on their shooting in the offseason after the booster club instituted an incentive program for players who made between 5,000 and 10,000 shots.

Sylba said most players sank 10,000 shots.

“We were very impressed,” he said. “A lot of it, you’re shooting on your own, you’re shooting in your driveway, down at the church hoop or wherever it may be, in addition to our open gyms. We think that really helped.”

Freeport will host a season-opening tournament Dec. 5-6 featuring Knoch, Mohawk and Washington.

Although Freeport won’t have to deal with as many depth problems, the Yellowjackets do have to contend with a section that includes WPIAL runner-up Burrell and playoff teams Apollo-Ridge, Greensburg Central Catholic, Shady Side Academy and West Shamokin.

“I think with our three (returning starters), we can match up,” Sylba said. “It’s really going to depend on how well Megan and Carli play. But I think we can compete for one of the playoff spots and be competitive game in and game out. I think our depth will help. We just want to play hard.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.