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Patriot girls top K-Kids

The Freedom girls basketball team gained a measure of revenge for last year’s district final by ousting Northampton from the EPC tournament in overtime, 57-50.

The quarterfinal win set up a semifinal showdown with Bethlehem Catholic at the PPL Center on Tuesday night, after Press deadlines.

The Patriots scored on each of their first three possessions of the game as part of an efficient first quarter that saw them outscore the K-Kids 21-14.

Brenna Ortwein and Jennifer Kokolus combined to score all 13 Freedom points in the second quarter as the Pates extended their advantage to 34-26 at the half.

In the third quarter, the Freedom offense suddenly went cold. It managed a mere two points over the first six minutes of the second half and when Northampton hit a pair of threes just inside the 3-minute mark, the K-Kids claimed their first lead of the game 38-36.

Following a timeout, Ortwein and Kokolus delivered back-to-back scores to recapture the lead, but Northampton scored the final hoop of the period to send the game to the fourth quarter tied at 40-40.

When Freedom built a seven-point lead in the first three minutes of the fourth period, it looked like the Pates would be able to cruise home. However, the K-Kids scored the next 8 points to reclaim the lead, 50-49, with 1:55 left in regulation. A Kokolus free throw tied the game with 1:47 remaining.

Northampton missed a layup leaving 1:15 on the clock. The Pates bled the timer down to 9.5 seconds before calling a timeout to set up the final shot. It went wide, sending the game to overtime.

Freedom won the OT jump ball and Corrin Gill took advantage by nailing a three a few seconds later. The Patriots’ defense clamped down, holding the K-Kids scoreless and Freedom sealed the win at the free throw line.

Kokolus led all scorers with 23 points. Ortwein tallied 17. Kailey Turpening added 11. Gill and Kayla Jefferson had 3 points each.

After the game, Kokolus mentioned that last year’s loss in the district final to Northampton still stung.

“It’s always a thing we have in our minds,” Kokolus said. “Before the game we talked about it and how much it hurt, so it was definitely motivation.”

Head coach Dean Reiman spoke about his team’s attitude in crunchtime.

“I have a lot of confidence in these kids when winning is on the line,” he said. “They are high character kids who want to win. And that showed in the overtime. There was no, ‘I’m afraid to lose’ or any nerves. They played with a lot of confidence.”

Over the weekend, the EPC announced its basketball all-star teams. Kokolus was named to the first team. Turpening was named to the third team. The Press will have more in a later edition.

Press photo by Linda RothrockBrenna Ortwein and the Freedom Patriots defeated Northampton and advanced to play Becahi in the semifinals Tuesday, which is past Press deadlines.