By Don Nelson
The Liberty Bell High School varsity girls’ basketball team ended its season on a high note Feb. 4 with a 49-39 home court victory over Manson, but missed out on post-season competition after making it into the playoffs last year.
Only a couple of frustrating losses kept the Lady Lions from continuing their season. Coach Ed Smith cited several games that Liberty Bell had a chance to win, which would have placed them among the top five league finishers advancing to the playoffs. “We had a hard time hanging on to leads,” he said. The Lady Lions finished sixth in league play with a record of 4-10, and compiled an overall record of 5-13.
Liberty Bell overcame a sluggish first quarter of cold shooting against Manson, trailing 7-4 after the first eight minutes. The Lady Lions stepped it up in the second quarter, finally taking the lead on a three-point shot by Monica Chavey with about two minutes left in the half. They took a three-point lead into the locker room.
Liberty Bell extended that margin with an aggressive third quarter to take a 41-32 lead into the final frame. The Lady Lions went cold again and didn’t score for nearly three minutes, and Manson made a run to close the gap to six points. Liberty Bell responded with a full-court press that kept the Trojans from getting closer. Lexie Romero scored on a put-back, Chavey sunk two free throws and the Lady Lions made a couple of steals to assure the win.
Chavey, the only senior on the team, closed her career fittingly by leading the team in scoring with 13 points. Lauren Fitzmaurice had 12, as did Katie Labanauskas. Romero, Lauren Ochoa and Carlynn Treise each had four points.
Earlier in the week, the Lady Lions faced possibly the best 2B team in state, losing 83-18 in a Feb. 2 road game at undefeated, league-leading, defending state champion Okanogan. Labanauskas led Liberty Bell in scoring with seven points, followed by Fitzmaurice with five, Chavey with four and Ochoa with two.
Looking back on the season, Smith said he was pleased that the players’ confidence continued to grow. He noted that Labanauskas averaged nearly 10 points a game in her final nine games after she was encouraged to be more aggressive going to the basket.
The Lady Lions, who will return every starter but Chavey next year, will play summer games against four to six other teams in the region, Smith said. “We need to have some more game experience,” he said.
|Liberty Bell 49, Manson 39|