The penultimate week of the high school sports year, coming after graduation and summer dismissal, was not lacking for activity for Liberty Bell High School athletes.
Mountain Lion basketball traveled to Manson on Tuesday (June 8) to face their league rival Trojans in a girls/boys double-header, coming out with a split as the girls won and the boys lost a heartbreaker. On Thursday (June 10), Bridgeport came calling in the Lions’ den and the Mountain Lions responded with two easy victories. Friday (June 11) found the Mountain Lions making a trip to the Columbia Basin, splitting a double-header with the Lions of Moses Lake Christian. On Monday (June 14) at Bridgeport, the girls’ and boys’ squads both repeated their earlier wins.
Liberty Bell’s grapplers hit the road for three matches, traveling to Ephrata on Tuesday, Okanogan on Wednesday (June 9) and to a Saturday (June 12) meet at Tonasket. Noah Holston, Bodie Paul and Alex Tareski all had strong performances through the tough road stretch.
Paul, last year’s runner-up in the 1B/2B 152-pound class, continued his winning ways through the week, racking up victories mostly by pins. Holston had almost the same level of success, losing to Maximus Zamora of 4A Moses Lake at Ephrata while sweeping his matches, all by falls, at Okanogan and Tonasket. Tareski had a little tougher road, still scoring well and battling through four matches on Saturday at Tonasket.
The schedule, which is always subject to revision this year, has the Mountain Lions at Omak on Tuesday (June 15). They close out the season with another trip to Tonasket on Thursday (June 17).
The Liberty Bell boys entered the week at .500, and that’s how they came out after picking up two wins at the expense of the outmanned Bridgeport Mustangs. In the Lions’ den on Thursday, the Mountain Lions jumped out early, led at the half 47-8, and went on to rout Bridgeport, 72-18. Nolan Falcon-George led a balanced scoring attack with 15 points, Kyler Mitchell and Tyler Darwood each added 12, and six others tallied points for the home team. The Lions had a distinct size advantage inside, pounding the boards and scoring at will off of offensive rebounds.
It was more of the same on Monday (June 14) at Bridgeport as Liberty Bell took charge in the first quarter 22-9, put up another 21 in the second and 27 in the third before taking the air out of the ball and running clock in the fourth, on their way to an 80-40 victory. The promising freshman Mitchell led all scorers with 18 points, seniors Falcon-George and Darwood pumped in 17 apiece, and again there was balanced production from the rest of the team.
Two tight road battles resulted in heartbreaking losses for the boys at Manson (50-47) and Moses Lake Christian (43-38). At Manson, the Lions led after the first period, 9-7, and at the half, 22-21. Both teams added 14 to the board in the third and Liberty Bell led by the scantest of margins at 36-35.
In a scrappy fourth quarter, the Trojans scored 15 and held Liberty Bell to 11, escaping with the three-point win. Sophomore Isaiah Stoothoff led the Lions with 15 points, senior Dusty Patterson tallied 13 and sophomore Sawyer Crandall contributed 8 points.
At Moses Lake Christian, another tight defensive battle found Liberty Bell leading at the half by, again, one point at 20-19. The Moses Lake Lions then put the clamps on the Liberty Bell Mountain Lions in the third quarter, outscoring the visitors 17-6 and holding on in the final stanza to secure the win, 43-38. Balanced scoring for the Mountain Lions found Crandall, Darwood and Patterson with 7 points each, and Falcon-George and senior Lucaas Gonzalez-Ortega added 6 each for the Mountain Lions. Liberty Bell enters the home stretch at 4-4 with three games remaining.
The LBH girls went four-for-four with a pair of wins over Bridgeport, and collected wins at Manson and Moses Lake Christian. As with the boys, the girls were in charge against Bridgeport from the start of both games.
At Liberty Bell on Thursday, Lions’ junior Jadyn Mitchell led all players with a triple-double: 25 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists. Senior Sammy Curtis and junior Caitlyn Cooley pumped in 14 points each, and Cooley pulled down 16 rebounds as the Lady Lions stormed to a 75-36 victory.
A road trip to Manson yielded a 56-17 win with the defense dominating. Mitchell led all scorers again, with 26 points and 17 rebounds, while the Mountain Lions held Manson to only three points in the entire second half.
At Moses Lake Christian, Cooley led with her double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Mitchell added 11 points and 19 rebounds in the 42-19 win.
Complete information about the Liberty Bell win over Bridgeport on Monday was not available at press time.
Shoes from Lauren
Several Mountain Lion girls were wearing shoes donated to the program by Liberty Bell grad and recent Syracuse University grad and basketball player Lauren Fitzmaurice, who was in the crowd for the Bridgeport games. There will be more to come with “Fitzmo” in an upcoming edition.