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Girls Basketball Season Wrap-up

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The direction remains solidly upward.

That made the 2016-2017 Cathedral High School girls basketball season a successful one – and one with a slew of highlight moments and objectives achieved.

And that made Ed Freije’s last season as the program’s coach one to remember.

Freije, who took over the girls’ basketball program from longtime coach Linda Bamrick in 2012, will step away from the program to coach the Irish’s baseball team. Irish girls basketball went 17-9 in his final season, and finished with a fourth consecutive winning record.

“The girls really grew up throughout the season,” said Freije, who went 70-50 in five seasons as the Irish’s girls basketball coach. “We had some good wins along the way, and put together a nice season.”

The Irish in 2016-2017 again played one of the most difficult schedules in the city and state, overcoming a 3-6 start to win nine consecutive games at one point. Included in that stretch: a victory over Heritage Christian and a championship in the Twin Lakes Tournament during the Christmas holidays.

The Irish also this past season registered two victories over rival Bishop Chatard, and beat Perry Meridian on Cathedral’s 2017 Senior Day.

“That was nice for our seniors and for our program,” Freije said.

The Irish won their first two games in the Section 10, Class 4A tournament before losing to North Central, 56-41, in the sectional final.

“We went into the year with quite a few question marks,” Freije said, noting the loss of a slew of front-line players – including four-year starter and Valparaiso-signee Maya Meredith – from the 2015-2016 team. “We had lost a lot of seniors who had been playing varsity basketball two or three years, but we knew we had some key pieces returning. It was a matter of seeing how those things fell into place.”

The Irish in 2016-2017 were led by junior do-it-all point guard Keya Patton, a three-year starter who Freije called a “phenomenal player.” Patten was named to an Indiana Junior All-Star this past season, averaging 22.5 points, eight rebounds, three steals and three assists per game.

“She really makes us go,” Freije said. “As good as she was this year, I expect an even better year next year.”

Also key for the Irish this past season were:

*Senior Brooklin Alexander, a four-year letter winner and very knowledgeable player/defensive standout. “She was really strong for us on the boards,” Freije said. “She continued to grow and gain confidence offensively and put together some real nice games.”

*Junior Molly Beatty, a 5-feet-2 shooting guard who was solid from three-point range and who Freije said “grew up a lot as the season went on and played a lot of minutes. She was real scrappy on defense and gained a lot of varsity experience.”

*Sophomore Maddy Lee, a 5-7 player who moved up from being mostly a junior-varsity player in 2015-2016. “She’s an energy machine,” Freije said. “She keeps possessions alive, gets on the floor and she’s scrappy. She can finish shots from 10-to-15 feet and finish around the rim and play strong.”

Senior Mallory Whitsett, a center/forward who started much of the season and had stretches of dominance. “She had some times were she absolutely dominated games,” Freije said. “She had some real nice games and did a nice job rebounding for us.”

The Irish also got strong performances from players such as freshman Justis Gordon, who played starter minutes and could have been a starter.

“She really grew up throughout the season,” Freije said.

Kalen Williams, a sophomore guard, split time with Beatty much of the season, and senior Blakley Marroquin played a key role as a leader and contributor.

“You look at some of the experience gained with the young players,” Freije said. “We had a sophomore and two juniors starting. We had a freshman and sophomore playing real significant minutes. All that experienced gained will really pay dividends.

“We feel like in the last five years we’ve shown some growth and consistency. We definitely had some good players go through the program and each year we got a little better. We’d love to see that continue to grow. We play against some of the better teams in the state and the city year in and year out, and we play in one of the state’s toughest sectionals year in and year out, but with good players and good families and good coaching staffs, we have the support so it’s a situation where continued growth is possible. I think good things will come.”

And while Freije said leaving the program is difficult, he said he doesn’t doubt the Irish have bright days ahead.

“It was tough,” Freije said of moving on from the program. “It’s hard getting out when you know players are returning. I think everyone’s able to see the bigger picture. As I told them, ‘I’m not going anywhere.’ I’m still going to be around and be supportive of the program and do everything I can do to help. It’s tough, but also really exciting.”

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