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Plenty of excitement surrounding Freeport boys program

| Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013, 1:06 a.m.
Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch
Freeport's Josh Beale practices Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, at Freeport High School.
Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch
Freeport's Ryan Weigold, participate's in drills during practice on Friday November 22, 2013 at Freeport High School.
Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch
Freeport's boys head basketball coach Mike Beale at practice on Friday November 22, 2013 at Freeport High School.

Freeport's boys basketball team has a number of holes to fill after the graduation of four starters from last season's team.

Among those who have moved on are Brendan Lynch, the Valley News Dispatch Athlete of the Year who averaged 19.8 points per game, and Robbie Miller, who averaged 12.5 per outing.

Despite the losses, coach Mike Beale is eager to see players step up and fill the vacancies.

“It's an exciting time to be a player in our program,” Beale said. “We have a lot of guys who aren't afraid to step out of the shadows of our older guys and want to compete and prove they belong.”

The only returning starter from last year's team is the coach's son — Josh Beale — who averaged 10 points and 10 rebounds per game as a freshman for the Yellowjackets, who went 4-8 in Section 1-AAA, 9-11 overall.

Defense and working the ball for the best shot have been staples of the Freeport boys program, and 2013-14 should be no different.

“Our Freeport system and philosophy is a constant,” Coach Beale said. “The question is who can step on the court and produce for the betterment of the team.”

Freeport basketball has been tailored to succeed in its small, circa-1961 gymnasium, which will be used for two more years before the Yellowjackets will reportedly play in its new gym next door to the present senior high school building.

Senior Eric Davis (6-foot-6) will man the middle for Freeport this season. Fellow senior Seth Bowser will man one of the forward positions.

Sophomore Kris Keppel will be the point guard and sophomore Ryan Weigold will man the other backcourt spot.

Senior Hunter Fennell and sophomore Mason Eddinger will see plenty of playing time.

“Every coach at this point of the season is evaluating each and every player during every practice, working toward the goal of finding the right combinations,” Beale said.

Beale said Indiana, Knoch and Mars are teams to beat in Section 1-AAA. The Yellowjackets open their 92nd basketball season Dec. 6 against Trinity Christian at the St. Joseph Tip-off Tournament.

Freeport will dedicate its season to Matt Wolfe, who is suffering from lymphoma and is awaiting a second bone marrow transplant. The team is using the motto “Bee Strong” in support of Wolfe, who is expected appear at Tuesday's Blue & Gold Madness night from 6 to 8 p.m.

Players from seventh through 12th grade will be introduced, and shooting games will take place along with picture sessions with players, statisticians and cheerleaders.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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