The 2019-20 Lady Big Red basketball team wasn’t picked to win a conference title. This wasn’t meant to be a breakout year, but a new chapter.
After graduating one of its best scorers in recent memory, hiring the program’s fifth head coach in five years and calling up a number of first-year varsity players from JV to fill out its roster, Glen Cove began a rebuilding phase. Now, halfway through the season, the team sits at 2-8 overall and 0-4 in Conference A3.
“We started off the year 2-2, which is not bad for a younger team,” head coach Jake Freitag said. “I expect a lot out of them, and they have come a long way. They’ve learned so much, and their basketball knowledge is improving.”
Glen Cove opened with an impressive 42-14 victory over Hempstead in a non-league matchup. A big positive for the Lady Big Red was its diversity of scoring. Hempstead couldn’t focus its defensive pressure on just one player. Although Brianna Guillen led the Lady Big Red in scoring with a game-high 11, ten different players scored for Freitag. Anna Basil scored 8, while Mia Martinez and Isabella Juarez both scored 4.
Glen Cove’s firs league play came on Dec. 18 on the road against Hewlett, where it suffered a 52-10 defeat. Hewlett’s Riley Weiss scored a game-high 22 points to continue her impressive season. Guillen, one of, if not Freitag’s best offensive players, was held to just one point off of a free throw.
The Lady Big Red will get another crack at Hewlett on Jan. 25, and Freitag is looking to make adjustments. “We have an extensive knowledge of Weiss and what she could do,” Freitag said. “We will continue to try to mix it up and give her different looks.”
Freitag was more pleased by the way his group fought hard and played a closer game in its second league matchup against Rosyln on Dec. 20. Although Roslyn beat Glen Cove 50-32, Freitag says his girls battled their way to a close game until the fourth quarter, when Roslyn pulled away.
“[Roslyn] opened it up at the end,” Freitag said. “The girls gave me a good understanding of where we were at, and where we could go.”
Freitag spoke well of his girls in their progression throughout the first half of the season. “[Brianna] Guillen has carried the load offensively for us at times, but we’re getting a lot of people involved,” Freitag said. “Sophomore Anna Brasil has played well and scored a bit. Lily Knobel, Jahnell Johnson, everyone is making strides right now.”
The first-year head coach wants to continue to stress early offense and scoring in transition. He believes controlling the pace of a game will lead to more success, and now it is just about getting his young group the experience to make them capable of dictating the tempo.
Glen Cove is gearing up for the second half of the season, where Freitag is just looking for steady improvement and an eagerness to learn.
“I want to see growth in this second half of the year, and I want to see them continue to take their reps seriously,” Freitag said. “Do everything in practice at game speed, and come to work.”