By Justin Gottschalk
LIBERTY February 22, 2005 The Liberty Indians managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat Friday night, as they held off a late Fallsburg run to win the non-league boys basketball game by a final score of 51-46.
The win was doubly emotional, as it came on Libertys Senior Night. The teams senior players and their parents at center court prior to the game.
Liberty (6-14) dominated early, taking an early 10-5 lead and passing through the press to put Fallsburg back on its heels.
Offensively, the Comets shot selection was poor, providing a stark counterpoint to Libertys crisp passing game and inside dominance. Liberty point guard George Cotton electrified the crowd with his court vision, dishing the ball to his teammates and controlling the paint.
At halftime, Liberty held a nine point lead, at 28-19. The Indians lead had been as many as 12 points, but Fallsburg (2-15) managed a late mini-rally to close to within 10 at the intermission. Junior Adam Gold sparked the Comets, scoring seven points in the game. Freshman C.J. Gilmore added six points for Fallsburg.
In the second half, Liberty struggled to hold off Fallsburg. Junior guard David Anthony led the charge for the Comets, driving fearlessly into the lane and finding teammates underneath for easy buckets. Fallsburg closed to within one point at 30-29 before Liberty responded. The Indians scored four unanswered points to take a 34-29 lead after three quarters.
The fourth period was a tug-of-war and a test of will. With three minutes to play in the game, the score was actually in Fallsburgs favor, 42-41.
But Libertys determination would not be thwarted. Consecutive buckets moments later by Chris Paddock and LaKarri Byrd carried the Indians to a 49-42 lead that would not be challenged.
Paddock ended the evening with team-high 13 points and Byrd finished with nine points.
We played real tough ball, Liberty Coach David Slater said. Its Senior Night, so they come out with a lot of emotions
and they just stayed together.
They tried to give it away, but these guys are proud kids and they really held together well, Slater added.