FREEDOM — After a 67-20 win tonight over Luxemburg-Casco on Friday night, the Freedom Irish girls basketball team is now 18-1 with a huge game on Sunday against Brillion, who is undefeated in the Eastern Wisconsin Conference.
The Irish are coming off a season where they went to the state title game and lost to Waupun, who also, ironically, has given them their only loss this season. Freedom is itching to get back to the Resch.
“I think we learned a lot from it and hopefully it’s something we get the chance to experience again but we gotta take it one game at a time,” said senior Sadie Jarmolowicz.
The squad is just a few games away from securing their fifth straight North Eastern Conference title. Their success comes from a strong foundation built from years of playing together.
“They know exactly what we want so we’re consistent,” said head coach Mike Vander Loop. “Our coaches at each level are consistent and we build again on each level. I think the continuity and consistency has really paid dividends for us over the years.”
The guy who put that foundation of the number one ranked team in the state together, head coach Mike Vander Loop, who has been at the helm for 21 years.
“In my opinion he’s the best coach around on and off the court,” said senior Kiersten Kriewaldt. “He makes it fun, while still working us hard and preparing us well for every game.”
Vander Loop says this is a resilient squad that has overcome some obstacles this season, such as losing one of their top players early in the season to a significant injury, but the players say that success all because of the team’s family-like atmosphere.
“Team chemistry that we built and our coaches are really good and pride ourselves on building that family feel so we all trust each other on the court,” Kriewaldt said. “I think that is definitely huge.”
The leader of the program is Jarmolowicz, who reached the 1,000 point mark this season. She’s averaging 16.4 points per game this season.
“She’s always a tremendous role model, any opportunity she gets to work the (younger) kids, she thrives in that setting,” Vander Loop said. “Sadie really is the kind of player that every coach dreams of being able to coach.”
Now the big question remains, how do they get over the hump if they run into Waupun once again?
“We’ll go at them again the same way we’ve went at the previous 400 or 500 games that we’ve had the girls for – whether it be at that team or anybody else who’s going to be strong we have to put together a good game to beat them,” said Vander Loop.