Ashlin Jacobsen and Cami Fransen are leading Freeman girls towards postseason

Feb. 7—FREEMAN, S.D. — Ever since the third grade, Ashlin Jacobsen and Cami Fransen have always shared the basketball court in some capacity together.

Now, they look to finish their prep career on a high note.

As the lone seniors on the Freeman girls basketball team this season, Jacobsen and Fransen have embraced their roles as leaders of a mostly learning group. Knowing even the little things such as a positive attitude can go a long way, the duo continuously encourages and supports everyone on the Flyers.

"Once you get down, it's kind of hard to come back from that," Jacobsen said. "Keeping (everyone) up and positive is a big thing for us. ... We want to make it to state and knowing when our last game is is a big part of our positivity and keeping everybody up."

"We know that you're going to have a bad game every once in a while," Fransen added. "You got to stay up, stay happy for the people who are doing good, keep encouraging them, and find a different role on the floor, even if it's not scoring."

Fransen has also found herself in a different role this season from her previous years on the Flyers. Listed at 5-foot-6 and having played guard throughout her career, she's been given assignments at forward due to the size of the team, only having two players 5-foot-9 and taller.

With the different role, Fransen has stepped up her rebounding, averaging a career-best 4.4 rebounds per game, and three defensive rebounds per game. Her newfound rebounding prowess has shown in big spots for Freeman during games this season, often going up against more traditional forwards.

"She's been playing bigger and stronger than girls that are three, four inches taller than her," Flyers head coach Jenny Peters said about Fransen. "She's been doing a really good job underneath the board and getting a lot of rebounds for us."

Jacobsen meanwhile has been the player Peters has looked to provide the scoring when called upon. She's averaging a team-best 15.3 points per game, which include a season-high 25 points in a blowout of Scotland on Jan. 30, and 20 points against region rival Alcester-Hudson on Feb. 1.

Though Jacobsen's been called to score when needed, the philosophy of the Freeman girls has been one of balance, as it's reflected in the scoring column. All five of the Flyers' starters average at least seven points per game this season. Rylee Peters is second on the team in scoring (11.3 PPG) and Fransen sits fourth (8.2 PPG) between Peyton McCune (8.7 PPG) and Vaida Ammann (7.6 PPG).

With the team's overall balance comes a great deal of trust the players have for one another, which Jacobsen knows when the moment of the game comes.

"Trusting our teammates is a big thing that we do," she said. "I would not feel bad passing (the ball) out to anybody to shoot a three. Those moments that change the game are kind of easy for us because we have a lot of good players on this team."

With a record of 13-4, Freeman currently sits second in the Region 4B seed points. After losing last year to Centerville in the region semifinals, it's been the Flyers' goal all season to make the SoDak 16.

"The girls just have their eyes set on that," Peters said. "They've been working on just improving every game. We tell them to get 100% better and just focus on those little things that we need to work on while we can."

The Flyers have a difficult remaining schedule in the regular season, with games against Class B top-five teams in Wall and Ethan, plus region opponent Gayville-Volin. Knowing the long road ahead, getting to the SoDak 16 this season will provide the exclamation point on successful prep careers for both Jacobsen and Fransen.

"We worked our entire lives for this," Jacobsen said. "If we can just have that one moment, that would be a really big accomplishment, and we can go home more upbeat by just staying positive and playing every game like it's our last."

"I think we have what it takes to get to that next level," Fransen said. "I have so much hope for our team, and it would be amazing to do it for our last year."