Photo by Don Nelson
Liberty Bell’s Peter Aspholm put up a shot against Oroville.

By Don Nelson

The Liberty Bell High School boys’ basketball team has dramatically picked up the pace offensively in the past couple of weeks and improved its performances against some of the league’s better teams, but the Mountain Lions couldn’t close the gaps enough to avoid three losses in games last week.

Liberty Bell lost to Lake Roosevelt at home, 71-41, on Jan. 16; fell to league-leading Brewster, 80-50, on the Bears’ home court on Thursday (Jan. 18); and finished the week with a 59-38 home court loss to Oroville on Saturday (Jan. 20).

In their last five games, the Mountain Lions have averaged 43.4 points per outing. In the previous five games before that, they had averaged only 22.4 points per contest.

“Offensively, we are definitely showing improvement,” coach Kyle Acord said. “Defensively, we are playing hard, but not always rebounding as well as we need to.”

In the Brewster and Oroville games, Acord noted, all eight Liberty Bell players scored.

Against Lake Roosevelt, the Mountain Lions led briefly in the first quarter, 14-13, before the Raiders dropped a couple of three-point shots and recovered for a 21-16 at the end of the quarter.

The treys kept falling for Lake Roosevelt, which pulled away from the middle of the second quarter on, building a 6-point lead to a 22-point advantage by halftime.

Liberty Bell outscored the Raiders, 9-8, in the third quarter, but fell farther back in the final 8 minutes.

Two Mountain Lions finished with double figures in scoring — juniors Simon Studen with 13 points and Peter Aspholm with 10. Aspholm also grabbed 7 rebounds.

“Against Brewster, one of the top 2B teams in the state, we dug a hole in the first quarter, but then played well for the next three quarters,” Acord said. “The guys played hard and never put their heads down, which I was extremely happy with.”

After falling behind 29-6 in the first quarter, Liberty Bell played just about evenly with the Bears for the rest of the game. Senior Carson Gunnip-Hunter scored 13 points and hauled in 8 rebounds. Senior Cash McClane added 12 points and 4 assists.

The Mountain Lions started strong against Oroville, and were trailing 14-13 when the Hornets scored a three-point bucket as the buzzer sounded at the end of the first quarter. Oroville turned up the heat in the second and third quarters to put the game out of reach.

Gunnip-Hunter, the team’s leading scorer on the season, scored 12 points and had 8 rebounds to lead Liberty Bell. Aspholm added 7 rebounds.

The Mountain Lions are now 0-12 in league play (0-16 overall). Liberty Bell finishes the season at home: They hosted Soap Lake on Tuesday (Jan. 23), host Tonasket next Tuesday (Jan. 30, with a 7:30 p.m. tipoff), and finish the season on their home court Feb. 3 against Manson, tipping off at 7:30 p.m., in a make-up game that was postponed by a snowstorm.

Lake Roosevelt 71, Liberty Bell 41

Lake Roosevelt 21 26 8 16 71

Liberty Bell 16 9 9 7 41

pts rbs stls assts

Deken Smith 2 1 1 0

Owen Hevly 0 2 0 3

Brayden White 5 1 1 1

Carson Gunnip-Hunter 7 6 1 1

Peter Aspholm 10 7 2 1

Cash McClane 3 0 1 4

Simon Studen 13 3 1 0

Bo Hughes 1 2 0 0

Lake Roosevelt JV 36, Liberty Bell JV 33

Tommy Knox 9, Dusty Patterson 8, Colton Overbeck 5, Tyler Darwood 4, Logan Hall 3, Shay Crandall 2, Nolan Falcon-George 2.

Brewster 80, Liberty Bell 50

Liberty Bell 6 18 15 11 50

Brewster 29 18 16 17 80

pts rbs stls assts

Deken Smith 8 1 3 1

Owen Hevly 5 2 1 1

Brayden White 2 2 0 0

Carson Gunnip-Hunter 13 8 1 0

Peter Aspholm 3 5 0 1

Cash McClane 12 1 2 4

Simon Studen 5 4 2 1

Bo Hughes 2 2 0 0

Oroville 59, Liberty Bell 38

Oroville 17 20 11 11 59

Liberty Bell 13 7 4 14 38

pts rbs stls assts

Deken Smith 5 2 1 0

Owen Hevly 4 4 2 4

Brayden White 5 2 0 1

Carson Gunnip-Hunter 12 8 0 0

Peter Aspholm 5 7 0 0

Cash McClane 3 3 1 1

Simon Studen 3 6 1 0

Bo Hughes 1 2 0 0

Liberty Bell JV 48, Oroville JV 40

Dusty Patterson 15, Nolan Falcon-George 9, Shay Crandall 8, Tyler Darwood 6, Alex Whites 6, Logan Hall 2, Colton Overbeck 1, Tommy Knox 1.

Leading scorers (through 16 games): Carson Gunnip-Hunter 114, Simon Studen 102, Peter Aspholm 84, Cash McClane 72, Deken Smith 36, Owen Hevly 36, Brayden White 27, Jude Klemmeck 22, Lucaas Gonzalez-Ortega 12, Bo Hughes 6.