The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Sports

March 2, 2013

Lions repeat as sectional champs

PARKER CITY, Ind. — The Liberty Christian School Lions rewrote the ending of the classic fable of the tortoise and the hare Saturday night, taking a 17-point lead early then falling asleep offensively and falling behind by eight.

But they woke up in time to sprint to an overtime win against Southern Wells, 83-79, and defend their sectional title.

“That was a great game — by both teams,” said Jason Chappell, Liberty’s head coach, “We clawed back into it and found a way to win. I’m so proud of my guys. I know they were tired from last night, but they finished it off. We had to do it in overtime, but we finished it off.”

The Lions sprinted out to a 12-point lead in the first quarter, employing a pressing, gambling defense to force five turnovers — Southern Wells would wind up with 28 for the game — and scoring in transition repeatedly.

The Raiders made up for their careless ball handling by getting offensive rebounds and put-back baskets. Southern Wells outrebounded the Lions 35-22, with 14 of its rebounds on the offensive end.

Levi Sherman dominated in the paint, with game-high totals of 25 points and 19 rebounds. He had eight points in the first quarter and added seven in the second.

In the third quarter, when Liberty started to double- and triple-team Sherman in the post and shut him out, Southern Wells’ snipers made them pay, hitting 4-4 from outside the arc and turning a 17-point deficit into an eight-point lead.

Liberty, on the other hand, was stone cold. It took the Lions more than six minutes to get their first points of the third quarter, and they scored just six in the period. The drought coincided with Lions’ point guard Chris Nunn’s exit from the game with his third foul with 3:40 left in the second quarter.

Liberty led 35-21 at the time, but trailed 46-41 when he returned to the game with 2:44 left in the third. “My coaches they just told me to calm down and be smart on defense, so I could get my team back in the game,” Nunn said. “We didn’t really hit anything [in the third quarter], then we turned on the defense and I think that’s what really turned the game.”

“Chris got into foul trouble, and when he got into foul trouble we had to drop the press earlier than we like,” Chappell said, “Then we were able to go back to it and fortunately we were able to speed the game up a lot more.”

That quicker tempo favored the Lions all night. When they were running, they sprinted ahead. In the fourth quarter, though, each time Liberty scored on a breakaway, the Raiders answered with an offensive rebound and a put-back basket.

With 9.3 seconds left, Liberty grabbed the rebound of a missed free throw by Sherman and the Raiders fouled Ben Bowen, who went to the line with his team down by two.

“It was just like practice,” Bowen said, “I’ve always been able to hit free throws, I guess, and I was able to knock them down.” Allowing that he was nervous, he added: “It happened really fast, so it just kind of came.”

In the overtime, Liberty’s Thatcher Rouse hit two critical three-pointers for half of his 12 points. Nunn added four of his total of 15. That tied him with his cousin, Franklin Nunn, who also had 15 for the game, and added a team-high eight rebounds. Preston Quinn had 14 points.

The Raiders got 17 from Devin Price, 12 from Kennan Mooberry and 11 from Keaton Coleman.

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