By Justin Batesâ€©For The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin
---- — LAPEL — It took three days, but the Madison County Basketball Tournament finally made it to The Lions Den on Friday night as Liberty Christian and Alexandria split a pair of games. The Tigers won the girls game 59-35, and the Lions were victorious in the boys game 50-40.
In the boys game, Chris Nunn led the Lions with 15 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals, hitting 5-of-8 field goals, including a pair of 3-pointers.
“We were rusty, and Alexandria had a great gameplan,” Liberty coach Jason Chappell said. “They slowed the game down and made us play defense, and we have to be disciplined. I was glad to grind it out and get out of here with a win.”
Preston Quinn also had 15 points to go with four rebounds and two assists, and Franklin Nunn was also in double figures with 12 points and five rebounds. Vincent Phillips chipped in with six points and four rebounds.
Braden Warren led the Tigers with 15 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals, making 6-of-11 field goals, including a 3-pointer. Layton Carroll was also in double figures with 14 points on 4-of-15 shooting, including four 3-pointers. Blaize Kelly chipped in with six points and six rebounds.
The Tigers led 13-12 after the first quarter, but the Lions used a 14-7 run to take a 26-20 lead into the intermission. Liberty Christian led 29-25 with six minutes left in the third, but Alexandria was held scoreless the rest of the quarter and for more than eight minutes. The Lions were able to use that 12-0 run to put the game away.
“We aren’t known as a defensive team and we started to grind it out,” said Chappell. “Your defense creates your offense and the big thing was after a critical play we didn’t drop our heads.”
Liberty Christian shot 53 percent from the field, including 61 in the second half while Alexandria was at 33 percent shooting. The Lions had a 27-26 advantage on the boards and also had the edge in points in the paint (20-12), points off turnovers (17-7) and steals (8-7).
Liberty Christian (6-2) will play Anderson on Saturday at Pendleton Heights at 3 p.m. Alexandria will play (3-6) at Pendleton Heights on Saturday at 11 a.m.
In the girls game, the Tigers forced 34 turnovers, which led to 31 points, as they rolled into the semifinal on Monday night at Elwood. Alexandria will play Anderson in the first game at 6 p.m.
“We’ve been playing much better than we did tonight and I didn’t think we would be that rusty,” Alexandria coach Tina Bolte said. “Our defense wasn’t the best, but it picked up as the game went on and we played smarter. It’s about the draw and it’s good for this team to get a win. We’ve been working hard and needed this win.”
The Tigers were led by Morgan Oliver with 22 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals, hitting 10-of-19 field goals and both of her free throws. Courtney Skinner had 21 points, four rebounds, eight assists and five steals, making 5-of-19 field goals and all eight free throws, including three 3-pointers.
Desirae Litchfield was also in double figures with 11 points, four rebounds and three steals. Kennedy Aiman added three points, six rebounds and four steals, and Kelsey Crisp chipped in with two points, four rebounds and seven steals.
Monica Watkins led Liberty Christian with 11 points, five rebounds and two assists, hitting 4-of-10 field goals. Michaela Levell was also in double figures with 10 points, seven rebounds and two assists. Melody Davidson chipped in with a team-high 12 rebounds to go with eight points.
Liberty Christian (3-5) will play Pendleton Heights on Monday night at the Elwood Middle School at 6 p.m.