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Patriots to keep things basic early

Unlike other teams within and outside of District 11, Freedom’s girls’ basketball team hadn’t started practice before multiple winter sports season suspensions were enforced, impacting the Patriots (and the Liberty Hurricanes) the most due to their inclusion in the Bethlehem Area School District.

Finally on Jan. 7, the Patriots, who already saw their season cut short in the middle of a state championship run last March, had their first day of practice for the 2020-2021 season.

“Excitement. Just pure excitement,” said Freedom coach Dean Reiman, describing the mood two weeks ago.

But with that excitement came a reality check.

“Without having a fall or November/December time period to prepare, we won’t be able to get very deep into our offenses and defenses, so we will keep things very basic early on,” Reiman said. “Keeping kids safe is obviously the priority, but trying to condition with masks on is very challenging.”

Freedom senior guards Brenna Ortwein and Corrin Gill are the Patriots’ captains this year. Kayla Jefferson, Jewel Levy, and Kailey Turpening are also among six seniors and four juniors returning.

“[Our strength] is always our ability to share the ball and be unselfish,” Reiman said.

However, opportunities to showcase that ability could be limited.

“We are not allowed to have any games other than our 10 scheduled (Northampton) County games, which is really tough for our kids as they see all their friends from other schools getting an opportunity to play 15 to 20 games,” said Reiman. “Very tough year for this 2021 class of seniors.”

Freedom’s first game is scheduled for Jan. 21 at Easton.

Brenna Ortwein is back for the Pates this year.