ShareThis Page

Freeport duo thrilled to play in Cager Classic after disappointing season

| Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 11:09 p.m.
Jason Bridge | Tribune-Review
Freeport's Josh Beale looks to the basket against Knoch's Aiden Albert (3) during their game Friday, Feb. 5, 2016 at Freeport Middle School in Buffalo Twp.
Erica Dietz | Trib Total Media
Freeport's Kevin Lynch (left) attempts to block a shot by Mason Eddinger during practice Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015 at Freeport Middle School.
Erica Dietz | Trib Total Media
Freeport's boys basketball coach Mike Beale (backrground, right) wraps up basketball practice at Freeport Middle School on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015.

Freeport basketball had high hopes this season with some key players back and the opening of a new gymnasium. But things didn't go as scripted, and the Yellowjackets finished 9-13 and missed the WPIAL playoffs.

While all-star games are no substitute for playoff appearances, Freeport can take some solace in the fact two of its top players and its coaches get one more game together: Saturday night's Cager Classic at Highlands.

Seniors Josh Beale and Mason Eddinger will suit up for the West team, which will be coached by Yellowjackets coach Mike Beale and his assistants.

Josh Beale and Eddinger played key roles for the last four seasons. Now they want to do the same at the area's all-star classic.

For Beale, it's one more high-school game with his father. A three-sport athlete, he plans to play baseball at IUP.

“It's an honor and a privilege to play with the best players in the A-K Valley and to be coached by my dad one last time,” said Josh Beale, a 1,000-point scorer who averaged 18 points this season. “I have gone to just about every Cager over the years and always looked forward to having the opportunity to play in it someday.”

Eddinger plans to continue his basketball career at Pitt-Greensburg.

“It means so much to me since I love the game of basketball playing from such a young age,” said Eddinger, who averaged 8.0 points this season. “And getting to play one last high school basketball game with one of my great childhood friends, with having so many memories together, it's definitely something special, and I won't ever forget it.

“Also getting to play with my coach since fifth grade and throughout high school, it's just a moment that I'll cherish forever.”

Mike Beale will make his second appearance as a coach in the Cager. He coached the West in 2007 — the East won that game 111-91 as WPIAL champions Nick Matviko and Steve Predebon of Leechburg combined for 43 points.

“I'm very happy for both Josh and Mason and the opportunity they have to take the floor one last time as high school basketball players,” Mike Beale said. “It's an elite group to be part of and an honor I know they will savor.

“As a father seeing Josh play, I become nostalgic as I remember all the way back to our elementary program. I reflect upon the thousands of hours we spent together and dedication both of these young men have shown to our program. Josh and Mason have been outstanding role models for our younger players and are deserving of this honor.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor for the Valley News Dispatch edition of the Tribune-Review. Reach him at

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.