By Ted Waddell
LIBERTY January 31, 2003 The Liberty Lady Indians keep on winning and their first year coach keeps on grinning.
On Monday night, the Lady Indians improved their overall record on the 2002-2003 season to 14-1 by defeating the Lady Panthers of Monticello, 52-43, in a non-divisional game.
Up until the first couple of minutes in the third quarter, the physical game seesawed back and forth.
But Liberty, led by senior guard Andrea TerBush, went on a rampage the remainder of the third period. In the wake of her shooting streak, the home team jumped out to a 26-19 lead.
Not to be outdone, Monticello (2-10) used its height and power under the boards to close the gap to four points, 46-42, early in the fourth period.
But the Lady Panthers momentum was stifled as the home team fought back for the win.
Defensively, the Lady Indians teamed up to contain Deirdre Smith, the Lady Panthers top scoring threat. But Smith was able to escape the defenders to score a few baskets and she finished the game with 10 points.
TerBush paced the Lady Indians scoring attack with a game-high 16 points. Fellow seniors Jamie Hopkins and Christine Waryha added 13 and 11 points, respectively.
For Monticello, junior Brady Dollard led the way with 15 points. B.J. McCline netted 12 points and Smith had the aforementioned 10.
Stats from the free throw line: Liberty went 11-for-23 (48%) at the foul line, while Monticello was 7-of-11 (64%) at the line.
After the final buzzer, Monticello Coach Karen Atack was visibly upset with her teams whopping 42 turnovers.
Asked her take on the game, Atack had a simple response.
Forty-two turnovers, thats your answer right there, she said. Its the most weve had all season, and youre not going to win with that many turnovers.
But like any good high school coach, she was quick to point out the silver lining of the contest. Atack noted that McCline had 12 points and 21 rebounds, which kept her team in the running right up to the final quarter.
Liberty Coach Tom LaGattuta, who was a boxer up until the ripe old age of 20-something, paced the sidelines before the start of the contest much like an experienced pugilist does before the opening bell sounds.
I feel like a caged animal before every game, LaGattuta explained.
The game was everything we expected, he said after it was all over and the scorebooks had been closed for the night. Monticello is a tough team, theyre big, theyre physical and well-coached.
LaGattuta said that the Lady Panthers have some big girls in the middle . . . but our big girls rose to the occasion.
He noted that Keely Hamlin, Hopkins and Waryha put it all on the line to hold Smith to just 10 points.
Youre never going to stop her, but sometimes you can slow her down, LaGattuta said of Monticellos junior center.
The coach also noted that TerBushs points were a key factor in the victory.
Andrea TerBush really carried us on her back in the third period when she hit a couple of big threes, he said. You could see the determination on her face when they were bringing it close . . . after that, the team really kicked in and played solid as a unit.
Up in the bleachers the Liberty Lunatics, a bunch of Indians football players who have lined up as an impromptu cheering squad, whooped and hollered as the Lady Indians recorded the win.
We are amazing, shouted one Lunatic as the stands emptied after the game.