The girls basketball season just tipped off this past weekend.
Bethlehem Catholics matchup with Freedom, however, had the atmosphere and nerves of a postseason game.
The Golden Hawks overcame a slow start to defeat the Patriots 61-48 at home on Tuesday night to improve to 2-0 this season.
Give (Freedom) credit, they came out and played great defense. I think the pregame jitters here made it rough early on, Bethlehem Catholic coach Jose Medina said. Credit to our girls, we brought the defense today, too, and thats what kept us in the game.
Good defense inside and the 3-point shooting of guard Kailey Turpening helped the Patriots, ranked No. 2 by lehighvalleylive, sprint out to a 13-6 lead in the first quarter. The sophomore connected on three shots from beyond the arc while Bethlehem Catholic, ranked No. 1, scored just twice from the field in the opening 8 minutes.
We came alive after the first quarter we just said, We need to lock up on defense. Thats our culture here; defense creates offense, senior Taliyah Medina said. During the course of the game, we switched up the defense a lot. We went 2-3; we went 3-2; we were just trying to keep Freedom on their toes.
While the commitment to the zone defense helped the Golden Hawks hold Freedom to just four points in the second quarter, Kourtney Wilsons perimeter shooting provided a much-needed spark to their offense.
The sophomore guard scored seven points to help Bethlehem Catholic go on a 9-2 run in the final 90 seconds of the first half.
We couldnt really play our game in the beginning, but I think that was because of how nervous we were, Wilson said. I felt like once one person could get a shot off, that pushes all of us to keep going and get more. I think it was a turning point because we were cold in the beginning. Once we got hot, thats when we kept going ... We just have this fire; once it sparks you cant put it out.
Freedom scored 10 of its 15 points in the third quarter at the foul line and trailed 40-32 headed into the final period, before Wilson once again ignited Bethlehem Catholics offense.
Wilson hit a 3-pointer just 12 seconds into the final quarter and scored nine points as the Golden Hawks opened the fourth on a 14-2 run that clinched the win.
Kourtney is a great kid. She puts in a lot of work, Jose Medina said. She was patient on offense and the shots came to her. When she found the opportunities, she did a good job knocking down open shots.
Wilson paced Bethlehem Catholic with 19 points and Taliyah Medina added 14, including nine in the third quarter.
Kourtney shot great tonight. I know my shot was off at the beginning, Taliyah Medina said. Were not selfish here. We know if someone is not on, then someone else is and were going to keep feeding them the ball.
Turpening led Freedom with 21 points, while going 8 of 9 from the foul line. Senior Jennifer Kokolus finished with 11 points.
Desmond Boyle may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DesJBoyle. Find Lehigh Valley high school sports on Facebook.
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