Taking part in the John Araujo Memorial Tournament at Del Mar High School, the Fremont Firebirds faced the Harker Eagles on Boxing Day with only six players. Harker played with seven active players and would go up big 19-4 through two-and-a-half quarters.
However, just when one thought the game was out of reach, the Firebirds flew fast and furious up and down the court, going on a 13-2 run, pulling within four points at 21-17. The Eagles then appeared to soar far away again, regaining an 11-point advantage at 28-17. But the Firebirds once again clawed back, going on a 7-0 run to pull again within four points at 28-24.
“This is a good group in that they really work hard,” remarked Firebirds Head Coach Miguel Castillo. “They really work hard. I told the girls last weekend that I’ve been coaching for 45 years, and 10 of those years I can say I really enjoyed the team, and this is one of those teams. They work hard in practice, they are very coachable, great kids and they never give up. We will always make a run here or there. We just have to get more consistent.”
Missing his top two point guards among the six total roster players that weren’t dressed for the game was certainly a challenge. One of the players who stepped up in their absence was freshman Trinity Lee. The 5-foot, five-inch forward made two of the Firebirds first three buckets and was easily one of the strongest and most athletic players on the court for either team.
“She’s a very powerful freshman,” chimed Firebirds senior center Kyra Brosnahan, who herself had a key three-point play to help get Fremont back in the game. “She can drive it to the lane, she is really strong with the ball.”
“Coming in as a freshman, I was really surprised how built she was,” recalled senior guard Mae-Mae Marsigan, who filled in admirably as the primary ball handler for the Firebirds. “She’s really strong and knows how to be assertive, which is really impressive for a freshman. Usually, freshmen on varsity are kind of nervous and don’t play as much, but she’s incredibly impressive.”
The entire group of Firebirds were impressive considering the lack of bench players. Only being able to rotate out one player at a time, made for big minutes for all six players. Almost everyone seemed to make a key play though during the second-half comeback attempt. In addition to Brosnahan’s three-point play, forward Kaylani Weber-Cummings also finished off her and-one opportunity with a successful free throw.
Unfortunately for the Firebirds and their supporters, the 15-point hole was simply too much to overcome. Full credit, though, to the squad for sticking with it. After the 19-4 deficit, Fremont outscored Harker 20-11 the rest of the way.
The Firebirds will open league play at Mountain View on Friday, Jan. 3.