Freedom girls basketball ends summer on a high note

Freedom girls hoops.jpg
Freedom won the Kimberly girls summer league title on Wednesday.

KIMBERLY (WLUK) -- Even during the summer high school basketball teams don't rest much as summer leagues spring into action, in addition to select players competing in AAU.

The end of July usually spells the end of summer basketball and Wednesday the Kimberly girls basketball summer league came to an end with Freedom edging Kimberly, 33-31. Both teams were missing key players, but don't think the teams don't take summer basketball serious,

It's the first glimpse coaches get to what they think they might have for the upcoming season. Based on Freedom's success, it looks good.

"When the ball goes in the air we treat it like we do in the regular season games," Freedom coach Mike Vander Loop said. "We go hard and we just look to get better every possession offensively and defensively and we're very happy with the result."

Freedom, which had its season end last year in a sectional semifinal to Amherst, 36-35, was happy to win a league that included many teams bigger than the Division 3 level it competes at.

"A bunch of good teams are here so it feels good to get the win," senior Jada Helms said. "There's a lot of big schools here. We're like the smaller school we're D3 versus D1, so it felt good."

Looking ahead to next season, Freedom seems poised to compete in the North Eastern Conference once again. The Irish, 20-5 last season, will have a mix of talent on this season's team, including incoming freshman Callie Lenke, who recently received an offer from Louisville.

"We're well represented by the different grades," Vander Loop said. "We're going to have freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. We have a few young kids who have worked very hard and have committed themselves this summer to the weight room, conditioning and strength and have also developed on the court so I think when you put all that stuff together we're confident we're going to have a strong season."

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay