By Don Nelson
It started out like another dominating win by Brewster was in the offing. But the Liberty Bell High School girls’ basketball team roared back from an early deficit and even took a fourth-quarter lead before falling to the visiting Lady Bears, 45-42, on Dec. 11.
Three nights later, the Lady Lions overwhelmed visiting Manson, 53-14, with smothering defense and well-distributed scoring. The games left Liberty Bell with a 3-3 record for the season, 2-2 in league play.
The Lady Lions played Brewster three times last year, losing by 36, 32 and 20 points. Unable to hit their shots, they fell behind, 13-5, after one quarter in last week’s game.
Liberty Bell chipped away in the second quarter, boosted by sophomore Sammy Curtis’ six points and a late three-pointer by sophomore Destiny Ferreira, to trail by five, 22-17, at the half. The home crowd thought it should have been closer, but a basket at the buzzer by sophomore Madison Surface was disallowed.
Brewster opened the second half with a three-pointer, but after that the quarter belonged to the Lady Lions. Two baskets by Surface brought Liberty Bell within three, 29-26. Then Curtis stole the ball on consecutive Brewster possessions, scoring breakaway baskets on each, and the Lady Lions had a 30-29 lead. The quarter ended in a 30-30 tie.
Liberty Bell’s momentum continued in the final quarter. Freshman Jadyn Mitchell scored a basket and junior Tommie Ochoa drained a three-pointer, and the Lady Lions built a 39-32 lead on a layup by Ochoa with about four minutes left.
Unfortunately, Liberty Bell hit a scoring drought in the final minutes. A driving score by junior Ali Palm gave the Lady Lions a 42-36 lead with a little over two minutes left, but it was the last time Liberty Bell would score. Brewster tallied the last nine points of the game, including a couple of three-pointers that put the visitors ahead to stay. Ochoa’s last-second heave hit the rim but bounced away.
Curtis led the Lady Lions’ scoring with 12 points and had six rebounds, as well as six steals. Mitchell added 10 points along with 13 rebounds for a double-double, and Ochoa scored seven. Palm had six rebounds.
Liberty Bell coach Stephanie Mitchell said that despite the loss, she was pleased with her team’s resilience.
Liberty Bell started fast against Manson and didn’t let up, jumping to a 16-4 lead at the end of one quarter. The Lady Lions’ full-court press was particularly effective as the home team built a 29-10 halftime lead. Liberty Bell’s tenacious defense held Manson to two points in each of the final two quarters.
Mitchell topped the Lady Lions’ scoring with 12 points. Palm added nine, and all eight Liberty Bell players scored. Ochoa handed out seven assists and had five steals. Hannah Bakke grabbed eight rebounds.
Liberty Bell hosted Bridgeport on Tuesday (Dec. 18). The Lady Lions will visit Soap Lake on Friday (Dec. 21). Over the Christmas break, they will take part in the Entiat Tournament, along with Bridgeport, Pateros and the host team, on Dec. 27-28.
Brewster 45, Liberty Bell 42,
Brewster 13 9 8 15 45
Liberty Bell 5 12 13 12 42
Jadyn Mitchell 10, Tommie Ochoa 7, Destiny Ferreira 4, Madison Surface 4, Sammy Curtis 12, Ali Palm 5
Liberty Bell 53, Manson 14
Manson 4 6 2 2 14
Liberty Bell 16 13 10 14 53
Jadyn Mitchell 12, Tommie Ochoa 6, Madison Surface 4, Destiny Ferreira 6, Sammy Curtis 7, Ali Palm 9, Hailey Damman 3, Hannah Bakke 6
Scoring through six games: Jadyn Mitchel 84, Sammy Curtis 66, Tommie Ochoa 30, Ali Palm 26, Madison Surface, 24, Hannah Bakke 23, Hailey Damman 22, Destiny Ferreira 17, Shae Taylor 6, Mckenna Ott 2