By Rob Potter
LIBERTY February 4, 2005 For much of Wednesday nights non-league girls basketball game, the Tri-Valley and Liberty teams matched each other almost literally basket for basket.
In the first three quarters, the visiting Lady Bears and the Lady Indians exchanged the lead six times. Further evidence of how competitive the contest was is the fact that the largest lead either team could manage in those first three periods was five points.
However, the fourth quarter was a completely different story. Heading into those final eight minutes of play, T-V (9-5) held a 35-32 lead. But the Lady Bears outscored Liberty (2-12) by a 15 to 4 margin in the period to post a 50-36 victory.
Lamorne Chang hit a baseline jump shot with 6:40 remaining to pull the Lady Indians to within a single point at 35-34.
The Lady Bears wasted little time in responding, however. Thirteen seconds after Changs successful jumper, T-Vs Shauna Murry connected on a 3-point shot to boost the Lady Bears lead to 38-34.
Less than 20 seconds later, Jamie Poulos scored on an old-fashioned 3-point play by swishing a free throw after being fouled while converting a layup.
With 5:29 showing on the scoreboard clock, Murry made another 3-pointer to extend the Lady Bears lead to 10 points (44-34).
A 15-foot jumper by Keely Hamlin with 1:28 remaining was the last basket Liberty could manage.
Leading T-V to the win were Murry, a junior forward, and senior center Lacey Moore. Murry scored a game-high 18 points 12 of which she tallied in the second half and blocked five shots. Moore recorded a double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. She also recorded six assists, six steals and four blocked shots.
Kaylie Ackerley registered five points for the Lady Bears, while Poulos added nine rebounds and three assists and Melissa Bachmann had six steals.
In the fourth quarter, we made our run, T-V Coach Karen Furman said. Shauna Murry had eight of her 18 points in that fourth quarter.
Furman also noted that the Lady Bears defense really improved in the final stanza.
What we had planned really started to work, she said. We were getting steals off our press, getting out on the fast break and scoring baskets on those fast breaks.
Defensively, every player I put into the game did what needed to be done we didnt let up at all, Furman added.
She also credited the Lady Bears balanced scoring as a key to the victory, which was the squads seventh straight.
The Lady Bears last loss was a six-point defeat to fellow Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV team Tuxedo back in December. (T-V will look to avenge that loss on Tuesday, February 8 when it hosts the Lady Tornadoes in a Division IV contest.)
Hamlin finished the evening with a team-high 13 points and 18 rebounds, while Jackie Katzenberg added eight points for the Lady Indians.
We gave them all they wanted for three quarters, Liberty Coach Tom LaGattuta said. But they wore us down at the end of the game. Those 3-pointers by Murry were like daggers for us.
But LaGattuta stayed optimistic about the Lady Indians performance.
Im proud of these girls, they played very hard against an excellent Tri-Valley team, he said. I got a great effort from every girl on the team tonight and that is all you can ever ask for as a coach.