By Lori Brown
LIBERTY February 12, 2008 The visiting Fallsburg Comets held the advantage in the first half of their Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV basketball game Friday night with the Liberty Indians.
But Liberty outscored the Comets 22-6 in the third quarter to take a 15-point lead into the final period.
The Indians went on to record a 69-55 victory.
Fallsburg (6-10, 1-5 Division IV) did not waste anytime scoring, grabbing a 5-0 lead in the first 35 seconds of the game.
Following a timeout, Liberty’s Dashawn Williamson scored twice to make it a 5-4 game.
The two teams exchanged baskets for the rest of the frame and the score was tied at 16-16 heading into the second period.
The Comets took a seven-point advantage in the second quarter. But with 10 seconds left until halftime, Dustin VanLieu made a 3-point shot to bring Liberty to within a point at halftime.
At the beginning of the third quarter, Liberty (7-9, 5-3 Division IV) took a 35-32 lead before a timeout was called.
The Indians kept the lead throughout the quarter and scored 11 points in the final two minutes of the frame.
At the buzzer to end the third quarter, Liberty’s Ivan Rivera swished a shot from near halfcourt to give his team a 53-38 lead as the home crowd cheered loudly.
VanLieu led Liberty with 16 points, while teammates Rivera and Dashawn Williamson each added 14 points.
For Fallsburg, Darius Buckner scored a team-high 21 points and teammate Randy Gilmore had 15 points. Buckner made all nine of his free throws, while Gilmore made four 3-pointers.
Fallsburg Coach Pete Dworetsky was proud of his team’s effort, noting that “the kids worked really hard.”
“We came out working the ball around, but Liberty had set hard screens on us, which forced us to have rushed shots, rather than setting it up,” he said.
“We lost it in the third quarter when they had a 22-6 run,” Dworetsky added. “We matched them throughout the [rest of the] game.
“I wish Liberty good luck in sectionals.
Liberty’s Coach Jason Semo said gave Fallsburg “a lot of credit.”
“They played man-to-man [defense] and were very aggressive, putting pressure on us.
“It took us a while to settle down,” Semo continued. “[Darius] Buckner and [Randy] Gilmore played extremely hard and they maintained the lead.
Semo noted that his team made some adjustments in the third and fourth quarters to focus more on defense.
“I am very proud of my boys, and they played very hard tonight,” he said. “We have grown as a team and individuals. They are great kids to work with.”