Liberty boys, girls basketball squads fall to Bellevue

February 5, 2013

By Christina Corrales-Toy

Cherelle Demps, Liberty High School sophomore guard, drives between Elisa Park (left) and Kate Holmes, of Bellevue, during the second quarter of their Jan. 31 basketball game. By Greg Farrar

Cherelle Demps, Liberty High School sophomore guard, drives between Elisa Park (left) and Kate Holmes, of Bellevue, during the second quarter of their Jan. 31 basketball game. By Greg Farrar

The Liberty High School gymnasium was awash in a sea of red on Jan. 31, when the Patriots boys and girls basketball teams hosted Bellevue in the final regular games of the season.

Parents, students, staff members and basketball coaches donned red in honor of heart health awareness, after the school spent the week rallying and raising funds for cardiovascular disease.

During the games, students collected donations for the American Heart Association and educated attendees about heart disease prevention and warning signs. The effort raised about $7,000, and the school will continue to raise funds through Feb. 14.

In addition to the school’s special red out event, the basketball teams also held their own celebrations, honoring their departing seniors with flowers and posters before the games.

The Liberty girls began the night by honoring their lone senior, Delane Agnew, before taking the court against the Wolverines.

Liberty hung tough against the KingCo 3A Conference’s top team, fairing a bit better than the squads’ first matchup, when the Patriots fell to Bellevue, 54-30. This time, the Patriots lost to the Wolverines, 56-41.

“We looked nervous early, and I thought we made a lot of mistakes, and didn’t finish plays off and let them build a big lead, but the girls kept fighting,” Liberty coach Randy Leifer said.

On the Web

Learn more about heart disease from the American Heart Association at www.heart.org/pugetsound.

Donate to the cause through Liberty High School’s American Heart Association team page at  honor.americanheart.org/ goto/LibertyHighSchool, through Feb. 14.

After a sluggish beginning, the Liberty girls entered halftime down, 34-17. The team picked it up in the second half, outscoring Bellevue 24-22, but the earlier deficit was too much to overcome.

“We played hard, made more plays in the second half and settled in a little bit,” Leifer said.

Liberty’s leading scorers for the game were Sierra Carlson and Cherelle Demps, who had 11 and 10 points, respectively.

After the girls’ game, it was the Liberty boys’ turn to take the court after honoring the team’s nine seniors.

While Liberty lost to Bellevue, 67-55, it was a successful senior night for Matthew Campbell, who led all scorers with 19 points.

“Matt has been an inspiration to say the least,” Liberty coach Omar Parker said. “It’s very rare when you get to coach a player where you can pretty much count on him coming in night in and night out and giving maximum effort.”

Similar to the girls’ effort against Bellevue, the Liberty boys showed marked improvement since their first meeting against the Wolverines. Just a month ago, Bellevue defeated Liberty in a 71-38 landslide.

Yet, also like the girls, the Patriot boys let a slow first half get the best of them, despite a strong second half in which Liberty outscored Bellevue, 34-27.

“We struggled a little bit in the first half, but in the second half, we really played,” Parker said. “We beat them in the second half, so I was proud of them.”


Liberty advances

As soon as both Liberty teams wrapped up regular season play, the focus shifted to the postseason and the first round of the KingCo 3A tournament.

The boys and girls played first-round games Feb. 2, and both emerged with a win, guaranteeing each a spot in the district tournament. The Liberty boys defeated Juanita, 52-44, while the girls defeated Mount Si, 52-42.

In second round play Feb. 5, the Liberty girls were scheduled to play Bellevue, while the boys were set to play Mercer Island. The results were not available at press time.

If the Liberty boys win Feb. 5, they will play for the KingCo championship at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 7. If they lose, they will play for third or fourth place at 3 p.m. Feb. 7.

If the Liberty girls win on Feb. 5, they will play for the KingCo championship at 8:15 p.m. Feb. 7. If they lose, they will play for third or fourth place at 4:45 p.m. Feb. 7. All games are at Bellevue College, 3000 Landerholm Circle S.E., Bellevue.

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