The Liberty Bell High School boys’ basketball team, seeking to end a winning drought that spans two-plus seasons, opened its season with a home game against 1B Pateros on Nov. 29 and kept pace with the Billygoats to the very end before falling, 53-47.
On Saturday (Dec. 1), the Mountain Lions hosted 1A Omak, and the taller Pioneers prevailed by 76-32.
Against Pateros, Liberty Bell opened the contest with a 14-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. After falling behind 15-14, the Mountain Lions recovered and took a 25-24 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Pateros surged to another lead in the third quarter before Liberty Bell caught up, 33-33, on a drive to the basket by senior Simon Studen. The Mountain Lions took a 37-36 lead into the final quarter.
The Billygoats again crept ahead, then Liberty Bell sophomore Nolan Falcon-George nailed a three-pointer to knot things at 40 all. It was 42-42 when a Pateros player was fouled on a missed three-pointer, and made all three free throws for a 45-42 lead.
On that bit of momentum, Pateros stretched its lead to seven, 51-44. Liberty Bell got back within four, 51-47, with 30 seconds left but could get no closer.
Sophomore Lucaas Gonzalez-Ortega was Liberty Bell’s top scorer with 10 points. Sophomore Deken Smith added 9 points, and Studen and Falcon-George each had 7 points.
Against Omak, the Mountain Lions played strong second and third quarters, but bracketed those with single-digit scoring in the first and fourth quarters in the 76-32 loss. Liberty Bell scored 25 of its points in the middle 16 minutes. The Mountain Lions were led in scoring by sophomore Dusty Patterson with 11, followed by Studen with 10 points. Senior Owen Hevly added 8.
Head coach Kyle Acord said the Pateros loss was disappointing but the Mountain Lions showed progress.
“I thought we played fairly well for two quarters against a very good Omak team as well,” he said. “The guys have been working at improving their individual and team skills this season. I think it is starting to show, but we still have a lot more to keep working on to get to where we want to be this year.”
Liberty Bell visited Waterville-Mansfield on Tuesday (Dec. 4), will travel to Tonasket on Friday (Dec. 7), then host Brewster next Tuesday (Dec. 11), tipping off at 7:30 p.m.
Pateros 53, Liberty Bell 47
Pateros 10 14 12 17 53
Liberty Bell 14 11 12 10 47
Deken Smith 9, Owen Hevly 5, Tommy Knox 3, Nolan Falcon-George 7, Dusty Patterson 4, Simon Studen 7, Lucaas Gonzalez-Ortega 10, Tyler Darwood 0, Shay Crandall 2
Omak 76, Liberty Bell 32
Omak 12 23 14 27 76
Liberty Bell 2 12 13 5 32
Deken Smith 0, Owen Hevly 8, Brayden White 0, Tanner White 0, Tommy Knox 0, Nolan Falcon-George 0, Dusty Patterson 11, Simon Studen 10, Lucaas Gonzalez-Ortega 3, Tyler Darwood 0, Shay Crandall 0