Ashburn, Va. — When the Freedom High School girls basketball team traveled to Ashburn to battle Potomac District foe Stone Bridge High School, the game plan was simple: pressure the ball and score in transition. The Lady Eagles did just that as they smothered the Lady Bulldogs offense – forcing 22 turnovers – in their 59-40 win on January 9.
“That’s our game plan. We put pressure on the ball because that starts our offense,” Freedom head coach Teddy Whitney said. “If we can get offense that way, we don’t have to rely on the half court offense so much.”
Freedom’s defense really shined in the third quarter when junior guard Jaelyn Batts intercepted six Bulldogs’ passes in transition leading to ten transition points in the third quarter alone.
“The pressure defense keeps us in the transition more and the transition offense is our strong suit,” Batts said. “By staying in transition, we’re staying out in front of teams.”
Batts – who posted a double-double with a game-high 21 points, 12 rebounds, 7 steals and 5 assists – is an athletic weapon who can strike from anywhere on the floor.
“Jaelyn can play all five positions, and she’ll create a mismatch in any one of them,” Whitney said. “She opens up our offense. When teams double and triple her, we have shooters. Jaelyn Batts is something special.”
However, what makes the Lady Eagles so dangerous is the corps that surrounds Batts.
Senior guard Shayna Wolin, junior guard Kamryn Meador and junior guard Jalyn Scales are all impressive from beyond the arc, while junior forward Rose Burnham and sophomore forward Brenna Haley combined to collect 18 rebounds.
“It’s a collective effort. We had to find each Stone Bridge player and box them out,” Burnham said. “If we don’t find each player, we aren’t able to rebound.”
When Freedom rebounds – which they did 36 times against Stone Bridge – they outlet quickly and try to get back into their bread-and-butter transition offense.
“There’s no need to work hard if you’re not going to reward yourself,” Whitney said. “I’m blessed that we have a team that works as one. Without everyone working and rotating, Jaelyn doesn’t get those transition baskets.”
Stone Bridge never got settled in offensively, struggling to break the full court pressure. However, in the half court they found spurts of life as senior guard Chloe Madgwick and sophomore guard Anna LeMaster scored 13 points apiece while grabbing 6 and 8 rebounds, respectively.
The Lady Bulldogs (2-3, 7-3) will look to get back on track when they travel to John Champe High School (1-4, 2-7) on January 12 for their second Potomac District matchup of the week. Freedom (5-1, 8-4) looks to keep hold of their No. 2 spot in the district when they host Broad Run High School (2-3, 3-10) on January 11.
“We’re a strong contender in our district,” Batts said. “Don’t count us out.”
Stone Bridge Stats