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Pates ready for city rivalry showdown

Freedom’s basketball team is on a quest for a signature win and the Pates will have a chance at that this week.

The Pates (8-4) have two games this week with Dieruff on Tuesday and a pivotal city clash with Liberty at home Friday night.

Head coach Joe Stellato knows the importance of each league contest, but Friday’s tilt with the Hurricanes (8-3) gives them a chance to kill two birds with one stone--getting a signature victory and closing the gap on Liberty’s lead in the division.

“It is big because it is a divisional game,” Stellato said. “If we want to win the division it needs to start by beating Liberty, who is at the top of our division. They are playing great basketball and we have our work cut out for us. It will be a fun game with a great atmosphere.”

Freedom lost to Pocono Mountain West (8-2) last week 70-65 in a game against one of the top teams in the conference. The effort wasn’t what Stellato hoped for in a marquee game for his team.

“We should have won if we played a complete game,” he said. “The first half we could not hit a shot and we just seemed to be sleepwalking. We came out at half, down 21 early in the third period and then woke up. Another thing that hurt us in that game was not having Jalen Fletcher, our best defender on the team. So I feel good about matching up with them in the future if needed.”

Improvement is what Freedom is striving for each day and the Pates will have a chance to keep building this week.

“We still need to get better at making the extra pass, finding a teammate open and transition defense,” Stellato said. “Those three things need to get better for us to be in position to fight for a championship.”