For the first time in four years, the Liberty Bell High School boys’ basketball team has made it to post-season play.
A 70-37 win at Soap Lake and narrow 59-57 loss to Lake Roosevelt on Senior Night left Liberty Bell with a 6-10 record in league play (7-13 overall), tied for the sixth and final league tournament spot with Tonasket. The teams played a tie-breaker game on Tuesday (Feb. 11) at Brewster for the opportunity to advance to the first round of tourney play.
During the regular season, Liberty Bell lost at Tonasket 65-61, then beat the Tigers 58-48 on the Mountain Lions’ home court. The winner of Tuesday’s game will play at third-place Bridgeport on Thursday (Feb. 13) for a chance to advance.
Last year Liberty Bell had a record of 3-13 in league play, 4-16 overall. The previous two seasons the Mountain Lions were winless. Last week’s games were an indicator of how for Liberty Bell has come from those days.
At Soap Lake, the Mountain Lions jumped to a 22-6 first-quarter lead on the way to their best offensive output of the season. They increased their lead in every quarter. Leading the way in scoring was junior Dusty Patterson with 19 points, junior Lucaas Gonzalez-Ortega with 17 (and 13 rebounds), and junior Nolan Falcon-George with 16.
Lake Roosevelt came to the Lions’ Den in the wake of a 73-50 loss to Brewster (which left those teams tied for first place in league play), a game that was costly for the Raiders. Two of their best players were ejected with technical fouls, which meant they could not play against Liberty Bell. Additionally, a couple of Lake Roosevelt players sat out with injuries. It wasn’t the team that beat Liberty Bell 75-17 earlier in the season.
The Mountain Lions took advantage of the situation with aggressive defense and an improved offense, and made a close game of it to the final minute.
The Raiders used long-range shooting to take a 10-3 first-quarter lead, but senior Tyler Darwood and Gonzalez-Ortega answered with 3-pointers to make it 13-10 game after the first 8 minutes.
Both teams had a good second quarter, Lake Roosevelt’s somewhat better. The Raiders burst out to a 30-17 lead with about three minutes left. The Mountain Lions then went on a scoring binge highlighted by two steals and two layups by Falcon-George, followed by a 3-pointer by the junior, and Liberty Bell was back in the game as Lake Roosevelt claimed a 34-28 halftime lead.
The teams played evenly in the third quarter, although Liberty Bell did at one point fight its way back to a 36-36 tie on another Falcon-George trey. The Raiders answered with late-quarter scoring to take a 47-41 lead after three frames.
Then it got interesting. Liberty Bell kept chipping away at the lead, getting as close as 2 points, and Lake Roosevelt would respond. With about 3 minutes left, Darwood scored a 3-pointer and added a 2-pointer to make it 55-52, Lake Roosevelt. Another clutch 3 by Darwood closed the gap to 57-55, then Patterson’s steal led to a breakaway layup by freshman Riley Lidey. That made it 57-57, with only seconds left in the game. Lake Roosevelt added two free throws, and Liberty Bell lost possession on a traveling violation, as the Raiders barely hung on for the win.
Darwood led Liberty Bell’s scoring with 20 points, nearly matched by Nolan-George’s 19. Gonzalez-Ortega added 9 and Lidey 8.
Seniors Magnus Treise and Shay Crandall were recognized before the game.
Liberty Bell 70, Soap Lake 37
LBHS 22 17 14 17 70
Soap Lake 6 10 11 10 37
Riley Lidey 2, Isaiah Stoothoff 2, Magnus Treise 8, Nolan Falcon-George 16, Dusty Patterson 19, Lucaas Gonzalez-Ortega 17, Tyler Darwood 4, Shay Crandall 2
Lake Roosevelt 59, Liberty Bell 57
LR 13 21 13 12 59
LBHS 10 18 13 16 57
Riley Lidey 8, Nolan Falcon-George 19, Lucaas Gonzalez-Ortega 9, Tyler Darwood 20, Shay Crandall 1
Scoring through 20 games:
Nolan Falcon-George 246, Tyler Darwood 150, Dusty Patterson 139, Lucaas Gonzalez-Ortega 139, Shay Crandall 92, Riley Lidey 77, Magnus Treise 59, Deken Smith 52, Isaiah Stoothoff 47, Sawyer Crandall 24, Alex Whites 3