By Mike Maltais
The Liberty Bell High School varsity boys’ basketball team is off to a fast start with double-digit wins over non-league Pateros, 65-33, on Dec. 8, and league rival Tonasket, 70-48, last Friday (Dec. 12).
Junior guards Connor Cooley and Micah Klemmeck combined for 34 points against the Billygoats and 55 against the Tigers to lead the Liberty Bell charge that saw them leading through every quarter of both games.
Both Cooley and Klemmeck are making the transition from last year’s junior varsity ranks, as are most of the remaining team members this season. Seniors Willy Duguay and Jorge Lara are the only two returning players who have any significant varsity experience from last year, according to coach Kyle Acord.
Cooley pumped in 15 of his 17 points in the first half of the Pateros contest and Klemmeck “picked up the scoring for us in the second half to finish with 17 points as well,” said Acord.
The Mountain Lions “still have a lot of things we want to work on, but I thought the guys played very well as a team and were able to take control of the game in the second half,” Acord said. “Willy Duguay had a fine rebounding night, finishing with 11.”
“To start this season, we have been working on a lot of the important details to help these guys make the transition from junior varsity to varsity,” Acord said. “It has been exciting to watch them make the transition, and with the hard work they have been putting in, hopefully it will be a successful one.”
To judge by the game against Pateros, the guys appear to be adapting well.
The Lion Lions girls’ varsity squad struggled against Pateros, losing 54-23.
Cooley and Klemmeck again had outstanding performances against Tonasket with 30 and 25 points respectively, but “the key to the game was our overall team defense in the third quarter,” Acord said. “At the end of the second quarter, we had a bit of a defensive letdown, and allowed Tonasket to close a nine-point lead to just three points at the half.”
A halftime talk in the locker room did the trick because when the Mountain Lions returned to the floor they held Tonasket to just two points through the entire third quarter. Along the way, the coach got good play from his senior guards.
“I was also pleased with the overall guard play of our three seniors, Jose Dominguez, Garrett Dornfeld and Jorge Lara, who each played time at the point guard position and did a good job of leading our team on the court,” Acord said.
The Mountain Lions were scheduled to host Oroville on Tuesday (Dec. 16) and will face one of their tougher challenges at Brewster against the Bears on Friday (Dec. 19).
The Lady Lions stayed close to Tonasket throughout their game, trailing by only two points with a minute left, but finally fell by a score of 46-40.
LBHS 19-16-14-16: 65
Pateros 12-9-6-6: 33
Points, rebounds, assists, steals
Connor Cooley 17-7-4-1
Micah Klemmeck 17-5-5-2
Willy Duguay 7-11-1-1
Garrett Dornfeld 7-7-1-1
Andrew Reggiatore 5-2-3-1
Ben Klemmeck 4-6-2-1
Jorge Lara 4-2-1-1
Josh Frey 2-4-1-0
Carter Dornfeld 2-1-0-0
Jose Dominguez 0-4-2-2
LBHS 17-14-16-23: 70
Tonasket 10-18-2-13: 48
Points, rebounds, assists, steals
Connor Cooley 30-10-2-2
Micah Klemmeck 25-8-5-1
Ben Klemmeck 5-2-1-2
Andrew Reggiatore 4-4-0-1
Jorge Lara 2-1-2-2
Josh Frey 2-2-0-0
Willy Duguay 2-0-0-0
Jose Dominguez 0-3-3-4
Garrett Dornfeld 0-4-0-0