The Liberty Bell High School grapplers took the week off from competitive tournaments to rest up and prepare for upcoming district and regional action over the next two weekends.
Seniors Noah Holston and Cody White, coming off stellar tournaments at Kittitas, head into the post-season with realistic expectations of qualifying for the WIAA State Mat Classic in the Tacoma Dome two short weeks away.
On the way, they must compete and place highly at the district level this coming Saturday at Tonasket High School. From Tonasket, they move along to the regional tournament and state qualifier at Warden on Saturday, Feb. 12.
For freshman Cassidy Jones-Mowen, the road is a little longer in miles traveled as she heads for her district tournament at Liberty High School south of Spokane this Saturday. There is no classification breakdown for girls in WIAA state wrestling, so she could be running up against girls from almost any school, regardless of size, along the way.
Qualifying for the regional tournament will send her to Ephrata on Feb. 12 with a chance to head for state, also at the Tacoma Dome on Feb. 18-19.
We caught up with Jones-Mowen at a recent Liberty Bell basketball double-header, playing her saxophone in the rebirth of a pep band. She seemed excited at the prospect of heading off to the district wrestling tournament.
“Yeah, it’ll be interesting. I’m hoping to do well,” Jones-Mowen said.
Mountain Lions struggle
It was a tough week for both Liberty Bell basketball programs as they faced the complete upper echelons of the North Central Washington 2B League. The schedule alone was grueling, with games on Monday, Tuesday and Friday, and the boys adding a trip to Brewster on Saturday.
Playing the four top schools in that six-day period made the task even more daunting.
Jadyn Mitchell and Caitlyn Cooley teamed up to score 45 of the Mountain Lions’ 49 points at Tonasket on Jan. 24, but it wasn’t enough as the Tigers edged Liberty Bell 57-49 in league action. Mitchell again hit double figures in both points (24) and rebounds (11), and Cooley added 8 rebounds to go with her 21 points, but there was little production with only Ruby McCarthy and Joslyn Rispone able to find the bottom of the net for two points each. Shae Taylor was tough on the boards, leading Liberty Bell with 12 rebounds and dishing for five assists as well.
The Mountain Lions dropped contests to two of the league’s best teams, losing 72-38 to Lake Roosevelt on Jan. 25 and to No. 1-ranked Okanogan, 67-25, on Jan. 28. The Mountain Lion scoring attack was better balanced against the Raiders. Mitchell had her usual double-double, tallying 12 points and 12 rebounds. Cooley added 11 points and 9 rebounds, Taylor dropped in 7 points and McCarthy hit for 8 points.
In the realm of seasonal improvement, the Mountain Lions were able to break the Bulldog backcourt pressure with better patience and ball movement, but Okanogan’s strength and speed were too much. Mitchell was held to 13 points and 9 rebounds, Taylor added 4 points and 6 rebounds, and eighth-grader Helaina Remsburg hit a long two-pointer for her first career points.
The Bulldogs wrapped up the regular season league title and No. 1 seed into districts as the playoff season looms, beginning next week. Liberty Bell looks to be the No. 6 seed. That picture will clarify after a Tuesday (Feb. 1) Senior Night rematch with Tonasket in the Lions’ Den.
The Mountain Lion Boys also had a tough week, dropping four games to Tonasket, Lake Roosevelt, Okanogan and Brewster. While the results were not recorded in the win column, the week was mostly about age and experience as the young Lions continue to develop and grow.
In an unusual Monday night tilt at Tonasket, brought on by an earlier COVID-related postponement, the Mountain Lions fell behind early, mustering only 8 points to Tonasket’s 15 in the first quarter, then tried to play catch-up the rest of the way.
Stronger scoring in the second and third quarters kept Liberty Bell close, 39-33, at the end of the third quarter, but Tonasket put the clamps on and held the Lions to only 5 fourth-quarter pints and closed out the game with 15 of their own for the 16-point win, 54-38.
Friday night in the Den the No. 3 Bulldogs from Okanogan rolled in, stinging from their Tuesday upset loss at Brewster. The upset-minded Mountain Lions had them leashed in the first quarter, lighting up the scoreboard to a 16-10 lead.
Beware the sleeping dog, though. In the second period the tables turned with a 26-point quarter for the crimson-clad visitors as they bullied their way to a 36-25 halftime lead, holding the home team to just 9 second-quarter points. The third quarter went much the same as the second and Okanogan was on its way to the 72-52 victory.
At Brewster on Saturday (Jan. 29), Liberty Bell jumped out to the early lead, up 17-15 at the end of the first quarter, the Bears then outscoring Liberty Bell 19-11 and taking a 33-28 lead into the halftime break. Brewster then outdistanced the Lions in the second half for the win.
Individual and team statistics had not been made available prior to the publication deadline.