By Don Nelson
The Liberty Bell High School girls’ basketball team vaulted into third place in league play last week on the strength of its sixth and seventh consecutive wins, over Lake Roosevelt at home and over Oroville on the road.
Brewster (8-0, first place) and Waterville-Mansfield (7-1, second place) are the only league teams to beat the Lady Lions this season. In each case, the score was 45-42. Liberty Bell stands at 6-2 in the league and 9-3 overall.
The Lady Lions have another shot at Waterville-Mansfield when the second half of league competition begins Friday (Jan. 11) at the Liberty Bell gym. Tip-off is at 6 p.m.
In last week’s 57-42 home win, both the Lady Lions and the Raiders played a bit sluggishly in the first quarter, which ended with Liberty Bell up 7-2. The home team extended its margin to 24-15 at halftime.
The teams played evenly in the third quarter, but the Lady Lions amped it up in the fourth quarter, scoring 21 points and applying intense defensive pressure.
Still, Liberty Bell let a 16-point lead be whittled down to eight before a final push finished off the Raiders.
Both teams racked up a lot of fouls, including a technical on one of the Lake Roosevelt players. Liberty Bell coach Stephanie Mitchell, frustrated at some calls late in the fourth quarter, also drew a “T” — which seemed to fire up the Lady Lions, who outscored the Raiders 9-2 from that point to the final buzzer. Liberty Bell’s clamp-down defense included a full-court press.
“It was good to finish the fourth quarter strong,” Mitchell said after the game. She said she put the press into effect to “change the momentum, and give them [Lake Roosevelt] something different to look at.”
Freshman Jadyn Mitchell topped all Liberty Bell scorers with 24 points — her best game of the season — and added 11 rebounds for a double-double. She was followed by sophomore Sammy Curtis with 21. Curtis sat out a good portion of the game after two quick fouls in the first quarter. Junior Tommie Ochoa handed out four assists. Junior Ali Palm had six rebounds.
At Oroville, the Lady Lions faced the league’s last-place team and weren’t in the mood for an upset, coming away with a 52-37 win. Curtis scored 20 or more points for the third consecutive game to lead all Liberty Bell scorers, and also had seven steals and six rebounds. She was followed by Mitchell with 14 points and Palm with 10 points.
Mitchell is leading the Lady Lions in scoring for the season with a 15.3 points-per-game average, while Curtis is averaging 13.8.
Liberty Bell 57, Lake Roosevelt 42
Lake Roosevelt 2 13 13 14 42
Liberty Bell 7 17 12 21 57
Jadyn Mitchell 24, Sammy Curtis 2l, Tommie Ochoa 3, Madison Surface 5, Destiny Ferreira 1, Ali Palm 3
Lake Roosevelt JV 45, Liberty Bell JV 22: Shelby Vintin 6, Mckenna Ott, 5, Caitlyn Cooley 4, Destiny Ferreira 4, Shae Taylor 3
Liberty Bell 52, Oroville 37: Sammy Curtis 21, Jadyn Mitchell 14, Ali Palm 10, Hannah Bakke 4, Maddie Surface 3
Liberty Bell JV 41, Oroville JV 23: Mckenna Ott 12, Joslyn Rispone 10, Shae Taylor 11, Naomi Carter 6, Caitly Cooley 2
Scoring after 12 games: Jadyn Mitchell 184, Sammy Curtis 165, Ali Palm 61, Tommie Ochoa 55, Madison Surface 54, Hannah Bakke 48, Destiny Ferreira 33, Hailey Damman 30, Shae Taylor 8, Mckenna Ott 2