Freeport vanquishes Valley in home opener
There's no place like home for the Freeport boys basketball team.
The team won its home opener over Valley, 47-30, in a Section 1-AAA contest.
Freeport led the entire way, but the Vikings kept within striking distance until they went scoreless over the last 3:37 of the game.
The Yellowjackets jumped out to a 13-2 advantage.
“I think we set the tone for the game early,” Freeport coach Mike Beale said. “We got behind 9-0 in the previous game at Knoch. It was nice to play at home, finally.”
Freeport is 1-1 in section play, 3-2 overall.
The Yellowjackets were led by Seth Bowser's 12 points and four assists. Mason Eddinger came off the bench to score 10 for Freeport.
Valley slipped to 3-2, 0-2 under first-year coach Mark Faulx.
“I'm really enjoying it,” Faulx said about coaching. “I really enjoy the kids and we're working hard; we're a work in progress. Some of these nights are hard, but they're necessary for us to grow.”
After falling behind 24-12 on a basket by Bowser to start the second half, Valley rallied.
Mike McNabb's free throw brought Valley to within 25-20, but Josh Beale made a 3-pointer to boost the Yellowjackets.
Valley could get only to within six the rest of the way.
“I talked to our seniors before the game, their last home opener here,” Mike Beale said. “They really came out and played hard tonight. We executed down the stretch. Multiple people scored, and I thought we made some key decisions.”
John Beale picked up his fourth foul with 6:40 left in the game, but the Vikings couldn't take advantage of his absence.
The Vikings pressured Freeport into 15 turnovers but often couldn't finish on the other end.
“It was effort, but it was careless effort,” Faulx said. “We didn't have good rotation; we gave up some layups on the back end.”
Tyson Hill led Valley with nine points and five rebounds. Faulx substituted frequently, giving different players floor time while looking for the right combination.
“We're competing against ourselves and our opponents to try and grow faster,” Faulx said. “We're trying to play hard and lay it on the line, and the next guy is ready to come in and back you up. That's part of the maturation process going on.”
Josh Beale led Freeport with seven rebounds.
Freeport faces a key road test Friday at Mars. Valley returns home to face Kittanning.
George Guido is a freelance writer.