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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Liberty basketball player signs with University of Montana Western

June 12, 2012

Liberty High School girl’s basketball player Aspen Winegar signed her letter of intent to play basketball at the University of Montana Western.

Winegar earned four varsity letters in basketball and was named a captain along with the most valuable player at Liberty. She rose through the rankings of the all-league teams in her time at Liberty, making honorable mention in 2010, second team all-league in 2011, and first team all-conference and all-state in 2012.

“Aspen Winegar was a positive force on the Liberty girls basketball team for four years,” Liberty head coach Randy Leifer said in a press release. “She is an outstanding player that can play with her back to the basket in the post or move outside where she led the league in three-point shooting percentage. Aspen is not only an excellent player, she is also a great teammate who set a good example for others, worked hard, was very coachable and kept teammates smiling.”

The University of Montana Western competes in the Frontier Conference of the National Intercollegiate Athletics Association.

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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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Skyline girls top Issaquah, earn KingCo No. 3 seed

February 21, 2012

Ty Gibson, Issaquah freshman guard, is fouled by Garfield forward Trey Williams during a furious third-quarter comeback at the 4A KingCo championship. By Greg Farrar

Local girls basketball fans always know it will be a battle down to the wire when the Skyline and Issaquah High School teams meet.

And, the third meeting of the season between the rivals was no exception. After an intense first half, Skyline pulled away in the final quarter Feb. 16 to beat Issaquah 47-41 in a loser-out game in the KingCo Conference 4A Tournament at Juanita High School.

With the victory, Skyline captured the KingCo No. 3 berth. The Spartans, 17-7, played at Stanwood, the Western Conference No. 3 entry, Feb. 21 in a playoff for a Class 4A Regional berth. The winner of the game advances to the regional at Auburn Feb. 25 and plays a team from District 3 or District 4 at 4 p.m.

In the first contest on Jan. 6 between Issaquah and Skyline, the Eagles held on for a 52-51 victory. In the Jan. 31 rematch, Skyline rallied in the second half to win 37-32.

In the third meeting, Issaquah held a 14-12 lead at the end of the first quarter. The teams were deadlocked at 20-all at halftime. The contest stayed close through the third quarter. In the final period, Skyline outscored Issaquah 15-11 to win the contest.

Rachel Shim and Megan Wiedeman each had nine points to lead the Spartans. Morgan Farrar and Allie Wyszynski each contributed eight points.

Issaquah’s Sabrina Norton led all players with 15 points. Mandie Hill added nine points and Monica Landdeck eight points for Issaquah, which ended the season at 17-7.

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Issaquah, Skyline girls stay alive, meet for vital KingCo No. 3 berth

February 15, 2012

NEW — 12:30 p.m. Feb. 15, 2012 

The Issaquah and Skyline High School girls basketball teams will meet once again and this time the stakes are even bigger. This time the outcome determines which team’s season continues.

Issaquah and Skyline meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Juanita High School to determine the KingCo Conference No. 3 berth. The winner of the loser-out game plays at 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Western Conference No. 3 team for a berth in the Class 4A state regionals.

Both rivals stayed alive in the KingCo 4A Tournament Tuesday with victories at Juanita. Issaquah edged Inglemoor 66-65 while Skyline raced by Newport 50-32.

Issaquah fell behind by six points in the first quarter but fought back to earn a 31-31 halftime tie. The Eagles pulled ahead in the third quarter and held off Inglemoor in the final period to win the game.

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Liberty girls basketball team drops KingCo title game

February 14, 2012

Delane Agnew, Liberty High School junior forward, lies sprawled on the floor but still tries to deny a rebound to Bellevue sophomore forward Holly Warendorf during the third quarter for the 3A KingCo Championship Feb. 9 at Bellevue College. By Greg Farrar

Liberty High School girls basketball coach Randy Leifer admits his team had an abysmal first half as they battled in the KingCo Conference 3A championship game Feb. 9 at Bellevue College.

It certainly didn’t help that the Bellevue Wolverines came out strong at both ends of the court, solidifying a 54-36 win over the Patriots.

“They were putting a lot of pressure on us, on our defense,” he said. “We didn’t take very good care of the basketball, and we settled for quick offensive shots.”

The Wolverines came into the tournament in the No. 4 slot and managed to overtake the Patriots with an 11-5 first-quarter lead. Bellevue boasted a 22-7 lead at halftime.

“They were able to get to the hoop a lot more than we did, and when they did, they shot the ball really well,” Leifer said.

The Wolverines’ defense held Liberty’s top scorers, Aspen Winegar and Sierra Carlson, to a combined 11 points. No Patriot scored in double figures — a situation the Patriots haven’t faced since the last time they took on Bellevue. Liberty dropped that game, 47-27, on Jan. 28.

Liberty only had four offensive rebounds for the night.

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Liberty girls blasted by Bellevue in KingCo title game

February 10, 2012

NEW — 11 a.m. Feb. 10, 2012 

The Liberty High School girls basketball team fell into a hole early Thursday and never climbed out as the Patriots lost to Bellevue 54-36 in the KingCo Conference 3A title game at Bellevue College.

Bellevue, which entered the tournament seeded No. 4, shot to a 11-5 first-quarter lead and stretched its advantage to 15 points by halftime.

The Wolverines’ defense held Liberty’s top scorers Aspen Winegar and Sierra Carlson to 11 points. No Patriot scored in double figures. Megan Tsutakawa led Liberty with eight points. Winegar had six points and Carlson five points.

Bellevue’s Katie Savard led all players with 13 points.

Liberty, 16-7, will advance to the 3A Sea-King District Tournament.

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Liberty girls shock Lake Washington to reach KingCo title game

February 8, 2012

NEW — 2:30 p.m. Feb. 8, 2012

Aspen Winegar and Sierra Carlson hit clutch fourth-quarter shots Tuesday as they led the Liberty High School girls basketball team to a 42-41 upset victory against second-seeded Lake Washington in the KingCo Conference 3A tournament semifinals at Bellevue College.

Liberty, 16-6, will meet Bellevue at 8:15 p.m. Thursday for the KingCo title at Bellevue College. Bellevue surprised Juanita, the regular-season league champion, 52-50 in overtime in the other semifinal.

The Patriots had lost twice to Lake Washington during the regular season. Although Liberty got off to a promising start in the third meeting by shooting to a 17-10 first-quarter lead, the Patriots had to battle from behind to pull out the upset.

Lake Washington led 23-22 at halftime and held 32-26 lead going into the final quarter. Liberty outscored Lake Washington 16-9 in the final period.

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