The Liberty Bell High School girls’ basketball team shook off a slow start and finished with a rush to beat visiting Waterville-Mansfield, 60-51, last Friday (Jan. 11).
The victory, the Lady Lions’ eighth straight, avenged an earlier 45-42 defeat at Waterville-Mansfield, and kept Liberty Bell near the top of league standings. As of early this week, Brewster stood at the head of the pack with a record of 10-0 in league play, Waterville-Mansfield was 8-3, Liberty Bell 7-2 (10-3 overall) and Lake Roosevelt 7-3.
Thanks to a rash of turnovers, the Lady Lions had trouble even managing to get shots early in the first quarter, falling behind 9-2. The Shockers held a 12-8 advantage at the end of the first frame.
Liberty Bell caught fire in the second quarter and took its first lead, 17-15, on the strength of two Madison Surface baskets — one on a breakaway after a steal — and a three-pointer dropped in by Ali Palm. It stayed close, and the half ended with the visitors up by one, 27-26.
Waterville-Mansfield built its lead back to five points, 33-28, but Liberty Bell fought back to a 35-35 tie with two minutes left in the third quarter. The Lady Lions had 39-37 lead as the quarter ended.
Liberty Bell has proven it can be a force in the fourth quarter, when its relentless defense starts to wear down opponents. Coach Stephanie Mitchell plays an eight-girl rotation that allows everyone to rest, and she has confidence in whatever five players are on the court.
The Lady Lions accelerated in the final quarter, eventually building an 11-point lead as Hannah Bakke, Sammy Curtis, Destiny Ferreira and Tommie Ochoa delivered key baskets to kill the Shockers’ momentum, and Jadyn Mitchell finished a perfect 8-8 at the foul line for the evening.
Mitchell led all Liberty Bell scorers with 20 points and registered another double-double with 13 rebounds. Curtis had 12 points and seven rebounds; Ochoa dished out five assists and pestered the Shockers with six steals; and Surface came off the bench for nine points and three steals. Palm also grabbed seven rebounds.
“The girls worked really hard this week on rebounding and it paid off,” coach Mitchell said. “We out rebounded Waterville-Mansfield, 42-29.”
Improved free-throw shooting also helped. The Lady Lions were only 5-14 from the line in their earlier loss to Waterville-Mansfield. Last week, they went 10-12.
Liberty Bell hosted Tonasket on Tuesday (Jan. 15). Next up is a trip to Brewster on Friday (Jan. 18). The Lady Bears beat the Lady Lions 45-42 earlier in the season.
Liberty Bell 60, W-M 51
Liberty Bell 8 18 13 21 60
W-M 12 15 10 14 51
Jadyn Mitchell 20, Tommie Ochoa 2, Sammy Curtis 12, Ali Palm 7, Hannah Bakke 3, Madison Surface 9, Hailey Damman 3, Destiny Ferreira 4
Liberty Bell JV 37, W-M JV 18
Mckenna Ott 12, Josilyn Rispone 9, Caitlyn Cooley 8, Shae Taylor 6, Shelby Vintin 2
Scoring after 13 games: Jadyn Mitchell 204, Sammy Curtis 177, Ali Palm 68, Madison Surface 63, Tommie Ochoa 57, Hannah Bakke 51, Destiny Ferreira 37, Hailey Damman 33, Shae Taylor 8, Mckenna Ott 2