Girls basketball: LQPV team MVP Freetly cuts award into thirds to share with teammates
When Alaysia Freetly was recently named Most Valuable Player for the Lac qui Parle Valley’s girls basketball team, the junior just didn’t feel right. Freetly definitely had the credentials for receiving the honor — averaging 12.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.5 steals a game — but the captain did what any good leader would do, crediting others for her success.
The morning following the team’s awards banquet, Freetly seeked out her coach, Ryan Giles, and demanded that he cut the MVP plaque that she just received only 12 hours earlier into thirds. Giles, also the school’s Industrial Technology teacher, said, “You think so?” Freetly replied “I think you need to.” Freetly wanted to give part of her keepsake to two other teammates that helped LQPV start out the season 5-0 and double its win total from a year ago.
So Giles took a hacksaw and made two vertical cuts to the 6-inch wood plaque that was topped with metal and glass. Later that day Giles called for a team meeting after school. That’s when Freetly surprised her teammates, especially junior post Kaitlin Connor and eighth-grade guard Kelsea Lund.
“I went home that night (of the banquet) and just sat in my room to think,” said a humble Freetly. “There were some games that I didn’t deserve the award. (Kaitlin and Kelsea) played well all year and they earned it just as much. So I thought I should do something.”
Connor led the Eagles in scoring (14.4 ppg) and rebounding (8.0 rpg) while Lund made 43 three-pointers en route to averaging 11.3 points and also racked up 2.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 steals a game.
At the meeting Freetly handed Connor and Lund part of the plaque, explaining to the team that the two were just as deserving as she was of receiving the award.
“Emotions filled the room and tears of joy rain down both young and old players,” said Giles. “Others started cheering for the moment and everyone concluded, with clapping for her and hugging her. The Lac qui Parle Valley girls basketball team found out that Alaysia was the MVP: Most Valuable Person.”
Connor said she didn’t know why her coach called a meeting after the season was already done.
“I didn’t know about it,” said Connor on what Freetly had planned. “I was really shocked and I started crying (when receiving part of the plaque). It was so inspirational. She is not about herself and it shows everywhere.”
Lund was equally caught off guard.
“I thought it was really nice of her and it shows her true leadership,” said Lund, who turned red in the face, according to Freetly, when she received her part of the plaque. “I was surprised and it was really, really, nice of her. It was very generous and it showed her true character.”
Freetly, a National Honor Society member sporting a 3.82 GPA, is also a state-qualifying runner for the LQPV/Dawson-Boyd cross country and track teams. Freetly has achieved a lot already in a prep career that isn’t even over yet. But her latest accomplishment is what everyone in the school district is talking about and is something that will be talked about for many years to come.
“As her basketball coach and track coach, I’m so proud of her selfless act that demonstrates her true character,” said Giles. “I’ve been fortunate to be part of a few conference, sub-section, section championships and a couple of state championships, but what Alaysia did (with the plaque) is what I’m most proud of.”