FREEDOM — Tuesday night it was raining in Freedom, even if the temperature outside was less than 10 degrees.
It wasn’t raining water, however, it was raining 3-pointers.
Freedom hosted Berlin in a Division 3 girls basketball regional opener and the Irish put on a long-distance show for its fans, swishing 13 shots from beyond the arc, including 10 in the first half.
This marksmanship led Freedom to a 63-38 win over the Indians, advancing it to Friday’s regional semifinal at rival Little Chute.
“That was certainly unexpected,” Freedom coach Mike Vander Loop said. “We knew we had to hit some threes, because Berlin had played a lot of zone against us in the first two games. Making the threes opened some things up.
“We scored quite a bit in the ‘paint’ in the second half because of that.”
Senior forward Kim Runge hit one of the threes and was impressed with her team.
“I was impressed how we shot it from the outside,” she said. “We knew we had to step it up from the outside.”
No. 3-seeded Freedom (15-8) hit five threes in each of the first two quarters and took control with a 34-19 halftime lead.
“We started quick and that’s been a problem for us,” Vander Loop said. “We hit shots and we rode that momentum.”
“Our fast starts are needed,” Runge said. “We cannot come out slow. Anybody can win these games. We have to play our best right away.”
While Freedom’s offense was putting on a show, so was Berlin (3-20) sophomore Julia Silloway. The left-hander was the only reason the Indians didn’t lose by more as she scored 27 points.
“Silloway, a great player, we knew she was going to get some,” Vander Loop said. “She scored 27; you don’t want to see a kid score 27 but we didn’t allow the girls around her to hurt us.”
Freedom turns its attention to No. 2 Little Chute (16-5), which swept the season series with the Irish (50-42 and 41-38). Tuesday’s win, though, gives the Irish added confidence against its rival.
“I feel a lot better,” Runge said. “Little Chute was close, both games throughout the conference season. I know we can beat them.
“It’s going to be a big game. I know it’s going to be packed. It’s our rival.”
Vander Loop’s team lost its final three games of the regular season to the top teams in the conference, so Tuesday’s win was a boost.
“It never hurts to go into that next game with some confidence,” he said. “We’ll put together a game plan over the next couple days and we’re certainly going to have to play a very good game because Little Chute’s a very good team, but we’ll get ready and see what happens.”
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay