By Justin Gottschalk
LIBERTY January 28, 2005 The Liberty boys basketball team played another hard-fought game on Tuesday night.
But the hustle and effort shown by the homestanding Indians wasnt enough to defeat Chester. The Hambletonians topped Liberty by a final score of 59-52.
Liberty held the lead with four minutes to go in the fourth quarter, but couldnt hold on as Chester ended the game on a 12-2 run that sealed the deal.
Theyre a very good Chester team, a well-disciplined team, Liberty Coach David Slater said. They showed that at the end when they came back on us.
The game was close throughout: Chester led 16-13 after one quarter and 29-24 at the half. However, Liberty rallied in the third period and tied the score at 42-42 heading into the final eight minutes of play.
In that fourth quarter, the momentum swung rapidly, with guard LaKarri Byrd and forward Chris Paddock stepping up for the Indians. They finished with 13 and seven points, respectively.
Also contributing for Liberty were forward Pete Panagakos, who hit the boards hard and cleaned up missed shots on both ends, and junior guard Casey Pazzalia, who scored a team- high 14 points.
Chester (10-5) went ahead for good on a jumper in the lane by senior forward Aaron Baltimore, with about 3:30 left. The Hambletonians dominated the second half of the fourth quarter, stifling Liberty defensively and hitting their perimeter shots. Senior forward Dan Browne ran the show down the stretch, dishing out several key assists and driving to the bucket for layups. He led Chester with 15 points. Baltimore added 13 and junior forward Nick Schust scored 12.
We had the lead and they just came back, Slater said of the Hambletonians. They played well today.
The games key moment came with 45 seconds remaining. Liberty had just scored a put back bucket to bring the game to within five. But a crucial turnover by the Indians and another jumper by Baltimore put the proverbial nail in the coffin, giving Chester an impressive road win in Liberty.
Liberty, which fell to 4-7 on the season, will look to get back on the winning track Tuesday night. The Indians will travel to Fallsburg that evening for a non-league game. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.