Deer Lakes boys get better of rival Freeport in regular-season finale
Monday’s regular-season finale between the Freeport and Deer Lakes boys basketball teams wasn’t the traditional section matchup many had come to know, but that didn’t quell the intensity or spirited atmosphere at Deer Lakes High School.
In front of active and loud student sections and others who packed the gym, the Lancers defended home court in the nonsection game and posted a 55-32 victory.
“It doesn’t get more special than this,” senior Colin Kadlick said. “Freeport is a huge rival. They know that, and we know that. I wouldn’t want to go out any other way. Whether we play them twice a year or once a year, it’s going to be a battle.”
Deer Lakes, the Section 3-3A champion, capped its regular season at 15-6, and Freeport fell to 11-9.
The Yellowjackets finished tied with Derry for third place in Section 1-4A.
“People talk about Highlands and Knoch, but Deer Lakes is our rival,” Freeport coach Wayne Greiser said. “You could see that tonight with the way the gym was.”
Both teams will find out their WPIAL-playoff fates.
“We wipe it clean, and everybody is 0-0,” Greiser said.
The playoff pairings, with dates, times and locations of the early-round matchups will be released Tuesday night.
“In my four years, this is how it’s always been between Deer Lakes and Freeport,” Deer Lakes coach Terence Parham said. “It’s usually a back-and-forth game, and the kids really like to compete against each other. Some of it carries over from football. Freeport came out and fought hard, but we were just able to make more plays.”
Parham said him, the coaches and players were eager to get back in a game situation and put away the frustration of Friday’s 56-45 loss to Shady Side Academy in the section finale.
“This was a nice win going into the playoffs, but we have to clean up a few things because everybody is good going to this next level,” Parham said.
The Lancers’ three seniors, Kadlick, Brad Perrotte and Jared Colton, were honored before the game, and the trio combined for 37 points in their home finale.
Perrotte scored 11 in the first half and added nine in the third quarter to finish with a game-best 20 points.
Colton and Kadlick added nine and eight points, respectively. Jack Hollibaugh chipped in with nine points and eight rebounds, and Zach Herbinko contributed seven points.
Jalen Brown scored 15 points to lead Freeport.
Things started out well for the Yellowjackets.
Vinnie Clark hit a 3-pointer in the opening minute, and Brown followed with a layup a half-minute later to give Freeport a 5-0 advantage.
But Deer Lakes scored the next 10 points to grab a lead it expanded over the final 27 minutes.
“It was a nice start, but then we missed six or seven layups and started turning the ball over,” Greiser said. “We blew up, fell apart a little bit, and they took advantage of it after that.”
Deer Lakes led by 10 at halftime and sealed the game with an 11-0 run to start the third quarter.
Freeport was without its big man, 6-foot-6 starting freshman Matt Aulicino, for a majority of the game because of foul trouble.
Greiser said starting junior guard Aiden Skradski’s availability for the start of the WPIAL playoffs is unclear because of an injured thumb on his shooting hand that will be evaluated this week.
“We’ll see what the doctor says,” Greiser said. “Hopefully, it’s good news.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at [email protected] or via Twitter @MLove_Trib.