Dan Braillard, longtime ‘Voice of the Patriots,’ dies

October 30, 2012

There are certain things that make the atmosphere at a Liberty High School football game special.

Dan Braillard

The smell of burgers sizzling on the grill, the sea of blue-and -green clad fans, the music of the band filling the stadium and, most distinctly, the sound of Patriot announcer Dan Braillard’s voice echoing through the night, all made the Friday night lights shine a little bit brighter.

“Friday night at Liberty was kind of a production,” Liberty coach Steve Valach said. “Dan used that microphone as a way to just enhance the whole experience. It was kind of like a Shakespearean performance.”

Braillard, who spent 25 years announcing Liberty football games and 15 years calling Patriot basketball games, died of kidney failure Oct. 1. He was 66.

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Liberty Select Basketball program holds tryouts

September 11, 2012

Liberty Select Basketball will hold tryouts Sept. 16 and 23 for boys and girls in third through eighth grades.

Times and locations for the tryouts can be found on the program’s website at www.libertyselectbasketball.com.

Players must register online prior to tryouts. Registration can be found by clicking the “Register Now” icon on the home page.

The Liberty Select Basketball program is a competitive program focused on providing future Liberty High School basketball players a fun, constructive and rewarding basketball experience.

The Liberty Select Basketball vision includes bringing together competitive players with strong basketball skills to participate in youth basketball at the highest level.

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Skyline, Liberty high schools hire new basketball coaches

July 3, 2012

Skyline High School announced the hiring of new boys basketball coach Maui Borden.

For the past four years, Borden was an assistant basketball coach for Eastlake High School and also spent time as a member of the football staff.

“Coach Borden has a thorough understanding of the role of athletics in the lives of our students and how to push them to get the most out of the student-athlete experience,” Skyline Athletic Director Ryan Gilbert said in a press release.

Borden works in the Xbox division of Microsoft and is a national speaker with Proactive Coaching.

Liberty High School has hired Omar Parker as the boys basketball coach.

A graduate of Mercer Island, Parker played on a state championship team, and later was a member of the Mercer Island coaching staff for two more championships. Most recently, Parker was the director of player development at the University of Missouri.

“I’m excited to coach at Liberty High School and be the face of Patriot basketball for Liberty and the community,” Parker said in a statement.

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Retiring Sports Editor Bob Taylor shares milestones from a long career on the sidelines

March 6, 2012

Kasen Williams, then-Skyline High School senior, makes his winning triple-jump leap of 45 feet, 5 1/2 inches, during the KingCo track and field championships May 13, 2011, at Juanita High School. File

I kind of know how Bill Gates must have felt when he made his first million. When I joined The Issaquah Press news staff May 22, 2000, I struck it rich, too!

Five days after being hired at The Press I covered my first Issaquah School District state championship team. Actually, it was inevitable that an Issaquah team would win when Issaquah and Skyline met for the 3A state baseball title in Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium. Issaquah won 5-3.

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Liberty High School’s Aspen Winegar is named all-league

February 28, 2012

Liberty senior Aspen Winegar, who helped lead her team to the KingCo 3A/2A title game the past two years, was named to the league’s all-league first-team.

Winegar averaged 12.5 points for the Patriots, who reached the 3A Sea-King District Tournament.

Teammates Sierra Carlson, Ashlan Applegate and Delane Agnew earned honorable mention.

Liberty guard Tynan Gilmore was selected to the KingCo 3A/2A All-league second team. Gilmore, a 5-8 junior, ranked third in league scoring with a 14.8 average.

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Liberty girls basketball team finishes third in KingCo

February 3, 2012

NEW — 11:30 a.m. Feb. 3, 2012

The Liberty High School girls basketball team bounced back from two tough losses earlier this week to defeat visiting Mount Si 57-46 Thursday in the Patriots’ final regular-season contest.

Liberty finished third in the KingCo Conference 3A/2A standings with a 10-4 record. The Patriots, 14-6 overall, host Mercer Island at 7 p.m. Feb. 6 in the opening round of the league tournament.

The Patriots, who lost to co-leaders Lake Washington and Juanita earlier in the week, shot to a 17-12 first-quarter lead against Mount Si and never looked back. Liberty held a commanding 27-17 halftime lead on Senior Night.

Appropriately for the Patriots, seniors played a major part in the victory. Senior Aspen Winegar scored a game-high 17 points. Seniors Stephanie Year, Megan Tsutakawa and Morgan Safley contributed nine, seven and three points respectively. Sophomore Sierra Carlson added 16 points.

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Skyline boys basketball team wraps up Crest Division title

February 1, 2012

NEW — 10:15 a.m. Feb. 1, 2012 

The Skyline High School boys basketball team wrapped up the KingCo Conference 4A regular season Crest Division title Tuesday when the Spartans defeated visiting Issaquah 46-39.

Skyline, which has two games left to play, boosted its league record to 11-1. The Spartans have a three-game lead on second-place Redmond.

Issaquah, 5-7, remained in a tie with Newport for third place in the Crest Division. Skyline, Issaquah and Newport all advance to next week’s KingCo 4A tournament.

Skyline shot to a 13-9 first quarter lead but Issaquah rallied in the second period to hold a 21-16 halftime advantage. The Spartans outscored Issaquah 16-5 in the third quarter to take the lead for good.

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Patriots overcome Interlake

January 31, 2012

Liberty outscored host Interlake, 16-10, in the fourth quarter Jan. 27 to post a 51-43 KingCo Conference 3A/2A victory. Tynan Gilmore, of Liberty, scored a game-high 26 points. Ben Wessell added 12 points.

On Jan. 28, Liberty lost to host Bellevue, 62-42. Bellevue took control of the game early, shooting to an 18-8 first-quarter lead. Gilmore led all players with 21 points.

On Jan. 24, Liberty had a spirited third quarter, but visiting Mercer Island pulled away in the final quarter to win 53-45.

Mercer Island, a perennial KingCo contender, looked like it might coast to a victory when the Islanders held a 27-16 first-half lead. However, the Patriots stunned Mercer Island in the third quarter by outscoring the Islanders 21-10 to tie the game.

The Islanders overcame Liberty 18-8 in the final period to win the contest.

Liberty’s Jordan West led all players with 15 points. Robbie Thomas added 12 points and BJ Demps 10 for the Patriots.

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Liberty basketball teams fall to Lake Washington

January 31, 2012

NEW — 9:55 a.m. Jan. 31, 2012 

The Liberty High School girls basketball team’s bid for a regular-season KingCo Conference 3A/2A title took a big hit Monday when the Patriots lost to host Lake Washington 55-46.

With the loss, Liberty dropped out of three-way tie for first place and into second. The Patriots are 9-3 entering tonight’s home game with Juanita. Lake Washington and Juanita are tied for first at 10-2. The Patriots conclude the regular season Feb. 2 at home against Mount Si.

Liberty lost for the second time this season to Lake Washington. The Kangaroos shot to an 18-8 first quarter lead. However, Liberty fought back to lead 36-35 after three quarters. Lake Washington outscored Liberty 20-10 in the final period to win the game.

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Skyline boys hold off Redmond in KingCo 4A thriller

January 26, 2012

NEW — 9 a.m. Jan. 26, 2012

Skyline High School senior guard Will Parker hit four free throws in the final 22 seconds Tuesday as the No. 3-ranked Spartans held off No. 4 Redmond 60-56 in a KingCo Conference 4A Crest Division boys basketball showdown.

The host Spartans boosted their division-leading record to 8-1 while Redmond dropped to 6-3 and remained in second place.

Skyline got off to a hot start and led by seven points after the first quarter. The Spartans held the lead at halftime. However, Redmond rallied in the third quarter to take a brief lead. Jason Harrington, of Redmond, scored 11 of his game-high 25 points in the third quarter to spark the Mustangs.

Skyline regained the lead in the final quarter and stayed in front down the stretch.

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