- Special Sections
- Public Notices
A streak of brilliance has appeared.
The Liberty girls basketball team showed what it is capable of in easily dispatching E.C. Glass,
Showing off a smothering defense and a quick-hitting offense, the Minettes posted their first win in Seminole play, taking the Hilltoppers by the score of 53-42.
Coming off a lackluster loss to Jefferson Forest (see story below), the Minettes' performance in the Glass game couldn't have come at a better time.
"The girls are starting to believe in what we tell them," said Liberty first-year head coach Michael Jones. "This (win) shows we can compete with anyone in the Seminole District."
Indeed, it was the first victory by a Minette squad over Glass since the Hilltoppers joined the Seminole three years ago. When that happened, the Toppers immediately became a Seminole force.
It seemed as if Glass might continue its streak of success. The Minettes, however, had other plans.
Holding onto a precarious 19-18 lead at the midpoint of the second quarter, Liberty came to life.
McKenzie Tibbs made a crisp baseline move for a bucket before hitting a 14-foot jumper. Then, KiKi Jones and Gabbi Spinner each hit 12-footers. Combined with some good free throw shooting, the run gave the Minettes a 28-19 halftime lead.
Glass cut the lead to six, 42-36, when Aliya Austin's lights-out pass found Jasmine Long for an easy bucket. But Liberty's Mikalah Jones and Nicole Smith matched that play. Not once, but twice, in giving Liberty back the upper hand.
The back-breaker seemed to come in the middle of the fourth. Smith reined in a rebound, zipped a pass to Lesley Comer who, in turn, zinged it to KiKi Jones for the layup. Badabing Badabum. Liberty had an 11 point lead and Glass's chances were over.
The Minettes had a nice distribution of scoring. KiKi Jones led the way with 13 points. Tibbs had nine and Spinner added eight. Smith, Mikalah Jones and Andrea Carper each kicked in eight.
Austin led the charge for Glass, with 18 points. Takera Cox had 12 and Long provided nine.
With the win, the Minettes improved to 1-4 in the Seminole, and stand 3-6, overall. "That's not where I was predicting we'd be," noted Coach Jones.
"Still, if we can reach the 70-80% (of our capabilities) mark, we can beat a lot more Seminole District teams."
Right now, a Seminole District title is fairly well out of the question. Brookville (4-0) has its sights set on it, though the Bees will have to fend off Rustburg, Heritage and Jefferson Forest (each is 3-1).
Still, it is likely that the Minettes can play the role of spoiler.
Against Glass, the Minettes were not surprised to do well. Nor were they stunned by beating the 'Toppers. There is a different mind-set on this team. That attitude, one that expects things to go well, could go a long way in a season that is still fraught with opportunities.
Those opportunities await a team that is willing to grab them and squeeze them.
There have been some tactical shifts. For example, KiKi Jones was on point against Glass, looking comfortable in that slot.
More critical, however, is the strategic shift in thinking. "The true Liberty team is ready to play," noted Coach Jones.