ANDERSON — Each time the Liberty Christian boys basketball team breaks down a huddle, the Lions say the word "family" in unison.
It's much more than a hollow affirmation. It's one of the keys to the first-time regional champions' success.
"We don't have ego problems on this team," senior DeShon Gibbs said. "We all have a lot of respect for each other's abilities. If one of us is having a good night, we try to feed off him or give him the ball. It doesn't really matter."
That's the foundation of a strong family, and it's the tie that binds the Lions. It's also a major factor in the team's ability to produce unexpected heroes with alarming regularity.
Gibbs averages just 5.3 points per game, but he's a 47-percent shooter from 3-point range. So when Lafayette Central Catholic twice left him open in the fourth quarter of Saturday's regional championship game at Frankfort, he knocked down a pair of treys that staggered the Knights and finished with 11 points.
Junior Quincey Hyatt scores just 5.5 points per game. But he had 12 in the regional semifinal victory against Seton Catholic on Saturday afternoon and followed that with an unforgettable performance in the final.
Six of Hyatt's eight points came in the third quarter as the Lions rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit. His lone basket in the fourth quarter also came at a critical juncture, and he added five rebounds and three steals.
"Our leading scorer might not get double figures in the next game," assistant coach Ryan Jackson said, explaining the team's depth and versatility. "I'm sure (Gibbs and Hyatt) came out of nowhere to Lafayette Catholic."
Just as senior Ben Bowen and junior Isaiah Tufts had in the afternoon against Seton Catholic.