Comeback falls short against South Bend
A stirring fourth-quarter rally wasn’t quite enough to overcome a 17-point deficit as the Liberty Bell High School girls’ basketball team fell to South Bend, 42-36, in 2B regionals play last weekend at Wenatchee.
The loss ended the Lady Lions’ season, one win short of making it to the state tournament. Liberty Bell finished with an 18-6 record for the year, tied for second in league play and taking third place at the 2B District 5/6 tournament.
The Lady Lions have been a strong fourth-quarter team all season, and they put up 19 points in the final frame against the Indians on Saturday (Feb. 23). But the miserable 16 minutes before that left Liberty Bell too far behind to close the gap completely.
Neither team made much headway in the opening quarter, as the score stood at 2-1, Liberty Bell, four minutes in. A three-pointer by Liberty Bell freshman Jadyn Mitchell and consecutive treys by junior Tommie Ochoa, coupled with stingy defense, helped give the Lady Lions a 12-6 first-quarter advantage.
The next eight minutes were nightmarish for Liberty Bell and its fans. The Lady Lions were blanked in the second quarter. As in zero points, while South Bend scored 17 to take a 23-12 halftime lead. Things didn’t improve much in the third quarter, which saw Liberty Bell manage just five points and go into the fourth quarter trailing 33-17, after falling behind by as much as 17.
It was a frustrating day to that point for the Lady Lions, as shot after shot refused to fall, free throws clanked and passes went awry. Foul trouble didn’t help. Mitchell, Liberty Bell’s top scorer and rebounder, left the second quarter early with three personal fouls.
But Liberty Bell never lost hope and continued to energetically play its scrambling, disruptive defense, including full-court pressure, and that was almost enough to save the day.
Early in the fourth quarter, Liberty Bell sophomore Sammy Curtis, the team’s second-leading scorer, dropped in two dramatic three-point shots that made it 36-27, heartening Liberty Bell supporters who had made the trek to Wenatchee. With two minutes to go, Liberty Bell had chiseled the lead to six points, and then narrowed the gap to three, 39-36, with 59 seconds left on the clock. Liberty Bell junior Ali Palm went to the free-throw line with two shots but missed them both, and that was close as the Lady Lions got.
Curtis led the Lady Lions in scoring with 12 points, and also had five rebounds and four steals. Mitchell scored 11 points and pounded the boards for 16 rebounds. Ochoa had six points and seven steals.
Liberty Bell was seeded 10th, South Bend 15th going into last weekend’s game. South Bend had an overall record of 15-9 before the regional game.
Central Washington 2B League champion Brewster was the league’s only representative to make it to the state tournament, with a 47-46 win over Mabton. Lake Roosevelt lost to Willapa Valley, 44-35, and was eliminated.
South Bend 42, Liberty Bell 36
South Bend 6 17 10 9 42
Liberty Bell 12 0 5 19 36
Ali Palm 4, Jadyn Mitchell 11, Tommie Ochoa 6, Sammy Curtis 12, Destiny Ferreira 3
Scoring after 24 games: Jadyn Mitchell 364, Sammy Curtis 313, Tommie Ochoa 127, Ali Palm 119, Madison Surface 110, Hannah Bakke 82, Destiny Ferreira 71, Hailey Damman 62, Mckenna Ott 12, Shae Taylor 10