FLYERS’ SEASON ENDS AT GAYVILLE
JEREMY WALTNER – PUBLISHER
A tough basketball season for the Freeman High School boys came to an end at Gayville-Volin last week Monday, March 1 as the No. 11 Flyers lost to the No. 6 Raiders 58-39. The loss sent Freeman home winless on the season at 0-21 while Gayville-Volin moved to 9-12.
Head coach Mitch Johnson knows it was a tough year for the Flyers, who have won just five games the past three seasons, but also believes that better days are ahead.
“Stay the course; there are a lot of good things in this team,” said Johnson, an Alcester-Hudson native who started the season as assistant coach before slipping into the lead roll late, following the resignation of Will Massey. “Even though we didn’t have success this season in terms of wins, I felt there were little successes and victories in there that we can build on.
“We can’t let the record dictate what this season was about,” he continued. “Focuses on the successes that we did have and build on those.”
The Flyers lose just two starting seniors — point guard Tegan Derry and speedster Collin Helma, who started playing basketball late in his high school career but whose athleticism and speed aided the Freeman boys. That means they will return a number of players who gained valuable minutes and experience on the court the past three months.
“Having a good summer will be key,” said Johnson.
The coach notes the consistent “energy and effort” of his team, even if that didn’t translate to wins.
“We showed up every game ready to go,” he says. “I was pleased with our effort down the stretch; they always showed up to work and got better every day and I was really happy with that. They stayed the course even though it was difficult at times.”
As for the seniors, Johnson is pleased with the leadership they showed.
“Tegan did a good job of leading the boys; him and Collin did a real nice job,” the coach said. “They weren’t always the most vocal leaders, but they were always leading by example. They put the work in, they practiced hard, they never complained.”
Johnson said he thanked the seniors in the locker room after the region loss to Gayville-Volin and recognized the difficulty of the season.
“It was tough; I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” he said. “But I told them not to give in or quit or accept where you’re at. Put the work in this summer and come ready to work next year. The time to get better is now.”