By Bill Cross
For The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. — Liberty Christian hosted homecoming Friday night, welcoming Indianapolis International to the Den for a girls/boys doubleheader. It was a happy celebration for both Lions teams as the girls defeated International 42-26 and the boys capped off the night with a 71-36 win.
In the opener, Monica Watkins was the story for Liberty, nearly outscoring International herself with a game-high 22 points. The 5-foot-7 freshman scored 10 points in the first quarter to help the Lions to a 16-7 lead. Liberty connected on just two field goals in the second quarter and turned the ball over 11 times in the first half but led 20-13 at halftime. Liberty was able to increase the lead throughout the second half, and the 16-point final margin was its largest lead of the night. The game was filled with turnovers and fouls as the teams combined for 52 turnovers, 36 fouls and 29 free-throw attempts. International connected on just seven of its 49 shots from the field and hit 12-of-24 free throws. Danielle Long led International (6-8, 1-2 Pioneer) with eight points. In addition to Watkins’ 22, Micheala Lever had eight points for Liberty Christian (4-7, 2-1 Pioneer).
In the second game, the Lions had a bit of early trouble with International guard Sklyer Kolli, who came into the contest averaging 26 points per game. Kolli connected on four first-quarter 3-point attempts to help give his team a 15-10 lead. The Lions turned up the defensive pressure in the second quarter, and eventually Kolli wore down. He went 0-for-5 in the second quarter and did not hit another 3-point attempt the rest of the night. Liberty’s squad is much more balanced on the stat sheet, and it showed Friday night. Next to Kolli’s game high 22, the next highest International scorer was Ari Lowinsky with six. However, the Lions put three in double figures, led by Preston Quinn’s 14 points. Vincent Phillips finished with 13, and Franklin Nunn had 11 for Liberty. The Lions (7-4, 1-2 Pioneer) led 33-22 at the half and outscored International 38-14 in the second half to pick up their first Pioneer Conference win of the season.
The Liberty Christian girls travel to Cowan for a 7:30 p.m. tip on Tuesday, while the boys’ team will host Muncie Burris Saturday at 7:30.