PARKER CITY — The Liberty Christian boys basketball team's pursuit of a third straight Class 1A sectional crown got off to a bit of a slow start Tuesday, but a strong second half propelled the Lions to a 78-31 win over Daleville in the opening round at Monroe Central High School.
The Lions came into the game rolling, winning their final four games by an average of nearly 35 points, but Daleville slowed the pace early and kept the game close. The Broncos trailed 14-8 after the first quarter as the Lions were a little slow to get untracked.
Elliott Jackson made two of three attempts from beyond the 3-point arc to spark Daleville early.
“At times this year we have struggled to score so we wanted to slow the game down,” Daleville coach Daniel Hanson said.
Liberty Christian was able to open a double digit lead early in the second quarter thanks to two Franklin Nunn baskets and a 3-pointer by Ben Bowen. Liberty jumped the lead to as many as 18 in the quarter before Daleville tallied the final four points to trail 30-16 at halftime.
“We came out a little flat, but that’s normal when you are starting out in the tournament,” Liberty Christian coach Jason Chappell said. “We were a little tight in the first quarter and a half, but we kind of settled in after that and did a better job.”
In the second half, Liberty forced the tempo and outscored Daleville 21-4 in the third quarter to bust the game open. The Lions forced eight of Daleville’s 20 turnovers in the quarter, many by jumping passing lanes and tipping the ball out.
In the fourth, the Lions sent in the reserves to get valuable court time and to rest starters for another test on Friday against Southern Wells.
Each player that took to the court scored for Liberty, led by Franklin Nunn’s 15 points. Chris Nunn and DeShon Gibbs each had 11 each in a balanced attack.