Freire Charter coach Terron Younger scheduled Thursday's girls' basketball game against Germantown Academy knowing full well his Dragons, hard hit by graduation, would have their hands full with the Patriots, ranked No. 2 in The Inquirer's weekly poll.
Younger was looking for a game that would prepare his team for the playoffs later in the season.
As expected, the unbeaten Patriots had too much firepower and rolled to a 65-25 win on their home court.
Freire did not score a point in the second quarter against the Patriots' trapping defense. It was the second loss in six games for the Dragons.
Freire was 21-5 last season and made it to the Public League semifinals for the second straight year but lost four starters from that team to graduation.
Germantown Academy (5-0) continues to put up plenty of points. In their five wins, the Patriots have outscored opponents by an average of 29 points.
Senior Alexa Gallagher, a 6-foot-2 senior guard bound for DePaul, led the Patriots with 18 points, and Jaryn Garner added 13. Gallagher and Garner, a 5-8 junior, each shot 6 for 7 from the floor. Gallagher also recorded seven assists.
"It all starts on defense for us," Gallagher said. "That enables us to execute our offense. We started with a lot of energy today."
Patriots coach Sherri Retif particularly liked the way Gallagher helped the Patriots get off to a good start.
"It's so nice to have someone like Gallagher who cannot only shoot the ball but knows how to pass it, too," said Retif, whose squad is seeking an unprecedented 13th straight Inter-Academic League championship.
"This game was a good chance for us to fine-tune our mental game, taking time to make a few extra passes. We're a young team. with 12 underclassmen on the varsity."
Germantown Academy ran out to a 16-2 lead in the first four minutes, capitalizing on Freire turnovers. After getting the opening basket, Freire went seven minutes without scoring.
Only a five-point flurry late in the first quarter cut the margin to 16-7. The Patriots outscored Freire, 24-0, in the second quarter to take a 40-7 lead. Retif then began substituting.
"We knew that it would be tough against them, but we know that we're going to have to play up to compete," Younger said. The Dragons moved from Class AA to AAA this season in the PIAA.
"We played Peddie [School] and lost by 40 points last year, but it was good to see that kind of competition," Younger added.
The Dragons will get plenty more next week when they compete in the West Chester Classic at West Chester University. They will open at 4:30 p.m. Monday against Cheltenham, another perennially strong team.
The Patriots will pack their bags Monday for a trip to the Naples (Fla.) Daily News Classic.
It will be Germantown Academy's fifth appearance in the tourney. Archbishop Carroll of the Catholic League is also in the tournament, and would meet GA if both win their opening-round games.
Freire Charter 7 0 8 10 – 25
Germantown Academy 16 24 20 5 – 65
FC: Latisha Johnson 2, Taryn Vinson 6, Daveon Gilbert 3, Markesha Griffin 6, Chelsea Woods 8.
GA: Fran Sweeney 5, Megan McCloskey 2, Kiernan McCloskey 6, Alexa Gallagher 18, Dempsey Cooper 1, Dana Lotito 8, Monica Schacker 8, Jaryn Garner 13, Natalie Toner 2, Breezy Cullen 2.