With only two days rest after Liberty Bell’s head-turning performance at the Wenatchee Invitational Cross Country Meet on Sept. 18, the top-ranked Mountain Lion boys dominated the field and the girls served notice upon the top B teams in Eastern Washington at the Okanogan Valley Golf Club on Tuesday, (Sept. 21).
Once again, the Mountain Lion women were packed at the front of the field, senior Jori Grialou leading the way to a third place finish, with sophomores Leki Albright and Dashe McCabe close on her heels in fourth and fifth places. Seniors Payten Kaufman and Kierra Reichert ran together, placing 14th and 15th and rounding out Liberty Bell’s scoring team with 39 points, only two behind first place Cascade (37), from the 1A Caribou Trail League. The only other scoring team was Royal High School, with 80 points.
On the men’s side of the meet, Liberty Bell’s freshman No. 1 Dexter Delaney again was at the front of the field, outdistancing sophomore teammate Will Halpin by a five second interval. The Mountain Lions pack-ran with seventh place Graham Sheley (17:35) leading Aksel Thomson (10th; 17:56), Isaiah Stoothoff (11th; 18:04), Carter Sheley (12th; 18:05) and Jackson Schmekel (17th; 18:58) to the 22 point victory over Cascade.
Coach Erik Brooks was clearly pleased with both varsity races.
“This meet was essentially a Tuesday workout with a little race day mental practice,” the coach wrote in his post-race comments. “This was a meet where we just needed to get out and go to work. Mission accomplished! We were consistent in our efforts and there were no wild swings in performance in the three days since Wenatchee.”
The Mountain Lions will travel to Marysville this Saturday for the largest meet of their year in the Nike Twilight at Cedarcrest Golf Course. This could be the first glimpse of what the state championships might look like, with LBH running against several possible November competitors. The meet features schools from all over the Pacific Northwest and runs multiple divisions for large and small schools, varsity and JV, and two open races.
Looking forward, the Mountain Lions host the Liberty Bell Invitational Meet on Saturday, (Oct. 9).
Mountain Lion spikers drop one, win one and place well at Quincy
When this season began there were unknowns coming off the COVID-adjusted 2020 season. The Manson Trojans were one of those unknowns after suffering cancelations, roster adjustments and a couple of years of youth and inexperience. Even coming in, with a 1-1 season record after sweeping Waterville-Mansfield and being swept by the Chelan Goats 3-0, Manson seemed to be more of an unknown quantity. The Trojans, in sweeping the Mountain Lions in adamant fashion on Tuesday (Sept. 21), pretty clearly defined who they are, at least on this night, 3-0 in sets of 25-14, 25-17 and 25-21.
“They are a pretty good team this year,” said coach Christine Scott. “We had trouble with them last season, and it’s been a couple years now that they’ve been good.”
Senior Shae Taylor led the Mountain Lion attack with six kills and three service aces in the loss. Manson improved to 2-1 on the young season, 2-0 in league play. Liberty Bell fell to 2-2 overall and in league play.
The Mountain Lions bounced back on Thursday with a 3-1 home win over Lake Roosevelt in the Den, 25-18, 25-22, 12-25 and 25-05. LBH jumped out to a quick 10-4 lead in set No. 1, pushed that lead out to 20-11 before the Raiders mounted a bit of a comeback, scoring two quick points. First-year player and sophomore M.J. Mihalic stopped the potential run with a nifty backward, over the head shot that found the Raider floor on the far sideline, seeming to shift the momentum in favor of LBH. The teams traded points through the end of the 25-point set, the Mountain Lions closing it out 25-18.
The second set featured a tough duel between the two through a 14-14 tie. The Raiders put a little spread on, running the score to 18-21, when the hometown girls seemed to come alive after a well-placed LBH timeout. Managing only one side-out in the run, the Mountain Lions controlled the serve and bolted past the Raiders for a 25-22 set win and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Call it historical, déjà vu, or whatever, the third set is typically unkind to the Mountain Lions and this match was no different, the Raiders cruising wire to wire for an easy, almost inexplicable, 25-12 set win, given the competitive nature of the first two sets. “That third set is a problem for us,” noted Scott. “It seems we might get a little mentally tired and don’t play as well sometimes.”
But, in the fourth set, Liberty Bell arose and turned the tables on the visitors from Coulee Dam, running out to a 10-4 lead, then surrendering only one more point and taking the match deciding set 25-5.
Shae Taylor again led the stat sheet, serving successfully on 26 of 27 attempts with three service aces, and hammering nine kill shots upon the Raiders. Jadyn Mitchell had seven kills, two kill blocks and hit on 11 of 12 service attempts, recording two aces and serving up ten assists. Joslyn Rispone contributed two kills and six assists, and Pearl MacArthur added three service aces in the winning effort for Liberty Bell.
Liberty Bell extended their record to 3-2 on the season while the Raiders suffered their first league loss of the year, their overall record fell to 4-2.
“Overall, we’re playing pretty well right now. Manson is a really good team and we had trouble with them. They did play well at the Quincy tournament (Saturday, Sept. 25) and we won the Silver Bracket,” said Scott. The Mountain Lions went 1-2 in pool play, losing to Reardan, beating the Cashmere JV and then dropping a two game set to Manson, placing them in the Silver Bracket consolation tournament. In that bracket, LBH won three straight matches against league rival Tonasket, 1B Waterville-Mansfield and then beating 1A Royal.
Liberty Bell was scheduled to entertain Tonasket in the Lions’ Den this Thursday, but the Tigers have been hit with the COVID bug, so that match has been postponed with no rescheduled date yet announced. Monday (Oct. 4) the Mountain Lions travel to Omak for a 5 p.m. match in the “O”zone, then face the Oroville Hornets in The Den at 5 p.m. on Oct. 5, followed by a rematch with the Brewster Bears at Liberty Bell on Thursday, (Oct. 7), at 4 p.m.
Football comes from behind
The Liberty Bell Mountain Lions got back in the win column with a come-from-behind second half to defeat the Waterville-Mansfield Shockers 42-21 in the Douglas County seat last Friday night. Juniors Sawyer Crandall and Riley Lidey led the way on both sides of the ball as LBH outscored the Shockers 27-8 in the second half to secure their second win against one loss on the young season. Waterville-Mansfield dropped to 2-2.
Crandall tallied 157 yards on six receptions and added 17 yards rushing on three attempts for 174 total yards and three touchdowns as well as contributing 5 tackles on defense. Merek Johnson led the rushing attacke with 99 yards on only eight carries. Lidey, the quarterback on offense, was a leader in the defensive effort with a 60 yard interception return and 11 tackles. Noah Holston topped the Mountain Lions with 14 tackles to go with his 82 rushing yards on offense and Quincy Scott checked in with 11 tackles on defense.
Lidey did have a good night calling signals, completing 11 of his 13 passing attempts for 236 yards and the three touchdowns to Crandall. Lidey added 24 rushing yards to go with his 236 passing yards, accounting for 260 of Liberty Bell’s 458 total yards on offense.
Head coach Jeff Lidey was philosophical, yet happy with the Mountain Lion win. “Waterville always starts out quickly. We were a little worried but I told the guys to ‘take your time and keep playing your game.’ We had several kids who were on an Outward Bound trip last week, and so missed some practices. They literally got back in time to jump on the bus with us Friday afternoon.”
As a result it took a little time to get warmed up, the Shockers jumping out to a 16-0 first quarter lead. Liberty Bell scored twice in the second quarter while shutting down the Shockers, and was a tippy-toe away from taking the lead just before intermission on a scintillating 60-yard interception return by Lidey, just stepping out of bounds deep in Waterville territory. The Mountain Lions had enough time to run one play before the half, but could not punch it in, and found themselves on the short end of a 16-14 halftime score. From that point on, it was all Liberty Bell as they outscored Waterville 27-8 in the second half en-route to their second win against one loss in the young season.
“One of the things we’ve been talking about with the older players this past week has been playing with physicality,” explained the coach. “I explained the importance of demonstrating physicality for the younger players, because it’s really the only way they can learn is from the older guys. Sawyer (Crandall) had a play in the Waterville game where he stiff-armed a tackler, forcing him to the ground,” Lidey said, demonstrating the motion extending his arm out and downward. “Exactly what we are talking about. We weren’t very physical against Pomeroy, but we were against Waterville.”
The Mountain Lions look to take that style of physical play into a Saturday match-up at Mountain Lion Stadium against the Pateros Billygoats, kickoff at 1 p.m. This is a recent change in the schedule of a game originally scheduled for Friday night.
Girls’ soccer nurses bumps and bruises before busy week
Mountain Lion Soccer (3-1) has taken a break from competitive play since dropping a 3-0 decision at Chelan on Sept. 16.
“The break has been nice to get people healed up and work on some extra training,” said coach Katie Overbeck. Several players have been nursing sore ankles and other bumps and bruises. “Next week is crazy week, though,” observed Overbeck. The Mountain Lions have four matches in eight days beginning with a Saturday, (Oct. 2) tilt on the road at Cascade (Leavenworth), home versus Okanogan on Oct. 5, on the road again to Bridgeport on Oct. 7 and then on to Brewster on Saturday, (Oct. 9). The Mountain Lions hit the pitch this past Tuesday afternoon after press time to take on the Pateros Nannies at Liberty Bell.