The Liberty Bell High School boys’ and girls’ basketball teams posted identical 2-1 records last week, sweeping a Tuesday double-header at Manson, doing the same Saturday at home versus Cascade (Leavenworth), but losing both games to Brewster on a Friday night showdown in The Den.
Boys bounce back
• Liberty Bell 51, at Manson 38: Remy Paz and Isaiah Stoothoff each scored 14 points as the Liberty Bell boys jumped out early and went on to defeat the Trojans on Jan. 17. Liberty Bell doubled up Manson in the first two quarters, 16-8 and 12-6, for a 28-14 Mountain Lion halftime lead. Riley Lidey was the only other Mountain Lion in double figures at 11 points.
• Brewster 71, Liberty Bell 48: Senior Kelcen Gebbers and younger brother Cort teamed up for 45 points as the Brewster Bears defeated Liberty Bell in The Den. The game matched two of the top three teams in the Central Washington 2B League as the regular season entered the home stretch toward league and district playoff time.
Isaiah Stoothoff, with his 11 points, was the only Mountain Lion to hit double figures as Brewster held Liberty Bell’s freshman scoring leader Remy Paz to only 8 points.
It was a tough shooting night for the home team in front of the largest crowd yet this season. The boys shot just under 50% from two-point range, but were a dismal 2 of 22 from outside the three-point arc, and overall were 20 of 62 from the field, about 32%. Added to the scoring difficulties were only eight opportunities from the free throw line, four of them finding the bottom of the net.
Liberty Bell’s first loss of the league season gives them a record of 6-1, a game behind Lake Roosevelt (7-0) in second place, and still a game ahead of Brewster (5-2). But the win gives the Bears the advantage in a tie breaker should Brewster and Liberty Bell end up with identical records in league play.
• Liberty Bell 87, Cascade 46: A resilient return to The Den on Saturday night as the Mountain Lions entertained the Cascade Kodiaks of the 1A Caribou Trail League in a non-league game just 24 hours later. The home team jumped out early, posting 26 points in the first quarter and 25 in the second on the way to a 51-24 halftime lead.
Riley Lidey and Kyler Mitchell shared high scorer duties for the Mountain Lions, each pouring in 18 points. Remy Paz was the only other Lion in double figures with 15. Kaston Dillon scored 33 of Cascade’s 46 points.
It was a better shooting night for Liberty Bell from two-point range, the Lions draining 29 of their 56 attempts. Three-point shooting was still off, but improved at 7 of 22 from the Brewster contest.
The Mountain Lions advanced their overall record to 11-6 on the year as they prepared to visit Bridgeport for a date with the Mustangs on Tuesday (Jan. 24). They finish the regular season with two home games, taking on the first-place Lake Roosevelt Raiders on Friday, then closing out the regular season in The Den versus the Oroville Hornets. Game times both nights are listed at 7:30 p.m., immediately after the girls’ games. Fans are encouraged to wear pink in support of women’s breast cancer research.
Girls gain ground
• Liberty Bell 22, at Manson 19: The Mountain Lion Girls tossed a fourth-quarter shutout and used a stellar final minute to come from behind and top the Trojans, 22-19.
Getting off open shots was an early season issue for the Liberty Bell girls, something they for which they found an answer at Manson.
“We were able to get a lot of shots off,” according to Coach Korrie Bourn. “But, none would fall.” In fact, the girls could only muster one Rio Bourn-Lott free throw in the entire first half and found themselves in the halftime locker room down 8-1.
“We kept at it defensively and kept the game within reach,” Bourn continued. “We found success in the second half on both ends of the court.”
Success, indeed. Bourn-Lott hit for a trey and two-point field goal, and Ruby McCarthy added four points for a 13-11 third quarter to cut the lead to six points. Sandra Hernandez-Garcia hit for her 4 points in the final period, and McCarthy nailed a trey to put Liberty Bell up 21-19 with 30 seconds left on the clock and the first lead for the Lions. Helaina Remsberg scored a clutch late free throw for the final tally and the 22-19 win.
McCarthy added 10 rebounds for her first double-double of her senior year. Hernandez-Garcia also grabbed 10 boards in the winning effort.
• Brewster 73, Liberty Bell 26: Things got tougher for the girls on Friday night at home as Brewster came calling, and the Bears left with a league win. There were some bright spots, though. The Mountain Lions’ 13 first-quarter points exceeded their early season full-game output at Brewster, but was also equal to their point total for the final three quarters in this game.
After a first quarter that had Brewster up 20-13, the Bears erupted for 23 second-quarter points and added 30 more in the second half in cruising to their 11th overall win and a 5-2 league record, good for third place in the CW2B, behind Okanogan and Lake Roosevelt.
Bourn-Lott led the Liberty Bells corers with 12 points. Brewster’s Morgan McGuire led all scorers with 28.
• Liberty Bell 62, Cascade 12: “And Now For Something Completely Different” might have been the theme of the night Saturday as the girls rebounded from Friday night’s loss to Brewster by dominating the Cascade Kodiaks, 62-12.
Remsberg led all scorers with a season/career high 21 points, McCarthy dropped in 12 and Bourn-Lott added 10 for the first triumvirate of the girls’ 2023 season. Violet Chrastina added 9 points and Hernandez-Garcia contributed 8 in a balanced attack against the short-handed Kodiaks.
Bourn pointed toward the statistical aspects of this game, indicating a complete team effort. Along with balanced scoring, the Mountain Lions shot a season best 45% from the field, much of that the benefit of numerous fast break lay-ins coming off of 21 steals and 22 assists on the transition game.
Cascade has struggled for numbers this year, bringing only a seven-member program with no junior varsity.
“They put together all of the pieces we’ve been working on and it was a great team win,” said Bourn of the Saturday night effort. “We looked to transition almost every time down the court, and when that wasn’t there we executed our plays well. It was really good to see this team work together.”
Next up the Mountain Lions traveled to Bridgeport Tuesday where the Fillies were looking to exact revenge for an early-season loss at Liberty Bell. The girls return home for the final three games of the regular season, Thursday (Jan. 26) entertaining the Quincy Jackrabbits, Friday night (Jan. 27) vs. Lake Roosevelt and Tuesday (Jan. 31) when they host Oroville, a team they felt they should have beat on their trip to the border town earlier this month.
With wins in two of the final three league games, the Mountain Lions could find themselves with either the fifth or sixth seed into the district tournament, first-round games on Feb. 3.
Liberty Bell’s Damien Spears headlined a group of four Mountain Lions wrestling at Kittitas High School just east of Ellensburg on Saturday (Jan. 21). The sophomore grappler won tournament championship in the 220-pound weight division by a fall in the first round of the title bout. Eighth-grader Yolo Paz also was impressive in taking 2nd place in the 125-pound weight class.
Cassidy Jones-Mowen traveled to Othello for the Lady Huskie Invitational on Saturday. The Mountain Lion sophomore placed 6th in her 125-pound division, which featured a bracket of 36 wrestlers from all six Washington school classifications.
Both meets served as a warm-up for district and regional competitions coming up in the next couple of weeks. The Mountain Lions travel to Okanogan this coming weekend for an all-day Saturday (Jan. 28) tournament at Okanogan High School. Action begins at 10 a.m.
The Central Washington 1B/2B district tournament is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 4, at Lake Roosevelt.