Freeport finding its groove

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At the onset of the 2019-20 basketball season, there were a lot of unknowns for the Freeport girls. The Red Devils were coming off a highly-successful season that saw them finish 16-5 and advance to the Class AA final four, but they had lost their backcourt to graduation.

As expected, the team has experienced some growing pains, but after losing three of its first four games, Freeport has been victorious in six straight games. In a recent 48-39 win at Uniondale, senior forward Taylor Abraham had 21 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks. The Red Devils are 7-3 overall, 4-0 in Nassau AA-1. Taneece Wooden added 13 points and 10 rebounds.

“As we’re jelling and figuring out our strengths and weaknesses, we’re getting better,” coach Meredith Jones said. “We’re not there yet, but the younger players are handling pressure situations well. It’s still a work in progress.”

In her sixth varsity season, Abraham has taken her game to another level, especially on the defensive end of the floor. She scored a season-high 28 points in a 63-49 come-from-behind victory over visiting Oceanside back in December.

“Taylor is playing well,” Jones said. “In the Uniondale game, she was a force on the boards, blocking shots, and taking it to the basket.”

Wooden has been as good as advertised. Despite battling foul trouble throughout the game, the 5-foot-10 guard carried the team down the stretch to secure the win at Uniondale. Wooden, who is averaging 16 points per game, scored a career-high 27 points in a non-league victory over Port Washington.

While depth is not Freeport’s strongest attribute, the team got big contributions from multiple sources in a dramatic 48-46 win when Farmingdale came to town on Dec. 27.

With time running down, Ancksu Dixon grabbed an offensive rebound, kicked the ball out to Wooden, and then watched as the talented freshman nailed a 17-foot jumper with 1.6 seconds to play to give the Red Devils the victory. Senior Tyler Hawkins scored a career-high 16 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.

“Basketball isn’t Tyler’s top sport, but she always gives 100 percent and brings a calm and loose demeanor to the team,” Jones said. “She plays hard and leads by example.”

With a pair of games still to play against both Massapequa and a Syosset team that is expected to compete for the county championship, the Red Devils have the toughest part of their schedule ahead of them. If Freeport can continue to follow the blueprint, it will be a tough out come playoff time.”

“It’s important for us to stay focused,” Jones said. “Our defense has been real good, but the girls need to pay better attention to what their teammates are doing. We haven’t peaked yet. I’m pretty hard to satisfy when it comes to playing hard, but they’re getting after it.”

The Red Devils will travel to Oceanside to take on the Sailors on Friday, Jan. 24 at 6:30 p.m.