By Don Nelson
Playing some of their best basketball of the season, the Liberty Bell High School girls’ varsity team nearly came away with the first-place trophy at the Cascade Holiday Tourney in Leavenworth last week.
The Lady Lions started the two-day event with a 40-28 win over host Cascade on Dec. 27.
The next day, Liberty Bell took Eatonville down to the wire before losing the tourney championship game, 54-51.
The Lady Lions had little trouble against Cascade, which allowed coach Ed Smith to allot plenty of playing time to everyone on the roster.
Junior Lauren Ochoa led the scoring for Liberty Bell with eight points, followed by junior Katie Labanauskas with seven, junior Carlynn Treise and senior Lauren Fitzmaurice with five each, freshman Tommie Ochoa, senior Haley Bakke and Jenna Miller with four each, junior Emily Paul with two and junior Nadine Treise with one.
Against Eatonville, the Lady Lions found themselves down by 50-44 with about two-and-a-half minutes left in the game. Two minutes later, with just 25 seconds left on the clock, they had battled to within one, 52-51. Eatonville converted both shots of a one-and-one free throw opportunity, and a last-gasp shot by Liberty Bell didn’t fall.
“Except for a few untimely turnovers we played a very solid game and I was very pleased with our overall effort,” Smith said.
Fitzmaurice turned in her top scoring performance of the season with 23 points and nearly had an unusual triple-double, grabbing 10 rebounds and nabbing nine steals. Labanauskas added 11 points, Tommie Ochoa nine, Carlynn Treise six and Lauren Ochoa two.
The Mountain Lions (5-4) played at Manson (1-5) on Tuesday (Jan. 3) and will host Tonasket (6-2), on Thursday (Jan. 5) with tip-off at 6 p.m. Liberty Bell is on the road again Saturday (Jan. 7) at Bridgeport (0-6).