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Freeport's first win a buzzer beater

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Freeport boys’ basketball program opened practice Feb. 1 with heavy hearts after one of its own, senior Danyel Saint-Louis, was tragically killed Nov. 11 when he was struck by a vehicle on the Meadowbrook Parkway. Saint-Louis was “an All-County caliber talent and a great kid,” head coach Larry Steimer said.

“The kids are bringing great effort every day and they’ve been there for each other,” Steimer added. “We’ve had some time to process the tremendous loss of Danyel. We talk about him often and he’s in everyone’s thoughts.”

The Red Devils’ first victory of the season came in heroic fashion Feb. 15 when senior guard Justin Norman sank a three-pointer at the buzzer to defeat Massapequa, 46-44. Norman, who is drawing interest from D3 college programs, averaged 13 points per game last season. He had 20 points in the win. He’s taken on more responsibility as the primary point guard, Steimer noted.

Senior Isaiah Bien-aime is a quality shooter with good size, and senior Jaheim Shepherd has a quick first step to the basket. Also contributing to the backcourt are seniors McKy Walker and Jordan Jaggon, a pair of perimeter threats who keep defenses honest. Up front, senior center Amir Muhajir, nicknamed “The Beast,” does a lot of the dirty work inside.

Unlike the boys’ team which is loaded with seniors, Freeport’s girls’ roster features only two — Savannah Houtaling and Shavay Willis. Houtaling is a hard-working guard with a great mid-range jumper, head coach Meredith Jones said, quickness and leadership. Houtaling had 9 points in a 43-28 win at Oceanside on Feb. 11. Willis is forward who’s counted on to rebound and defend around the basket.

Sophomore wing Taneece Wooden is the Red Devils’ most accomplished player. The guard/forward combo averaged double figures in points (15) and rebounds (13) last season and can score in a variety of ways. She earned All-Class honors as a freshman.

Also coming off a big freshman campaign is point guard Anayah Lloyd, an All-Conference selection. She’s not only a shutdown defender but also an excellent feeder with scoring ability. She had 9 points against Oceanside. “She wants to be a leader and is showing great signs,” Jones said.

Junior Ancksu Dixon played a key role off the bench a year ago and has emerged as a solid starter. Dixon had 6 points in a 42-38 loss to Massapequa on Feb. 9.

“It’s all about having fun,” Jones said. “We play Massapequa again in the last game so it’ll be fun to see how we’ve progressed and if we improve more than they do.”