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Lori Brown | Democrat

Liberty’s Marshon Williams (20) goes up for a shot between O’Neill defenders Jeff Gathers and Jordan Baskerville, right, during the third quarter of Friday night’s game. Watching the play is Liberty’s Markell Jarrette, left.

Liberty tops O’Neill in OT

By Lori Brown
LIBERTY — February 8, 2011 — The Liberty Indians hosted the James I. O’Neill Raiders on Friday night in an Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV basketball game.
And the performance of the many talented players on both teams found the score tied at 70-70 at the end of regulation, which forced a four-minute overtime period.
In addition to the good individual performances, the sportsmanship displayed by both teams made for an exciting game to watch.
Liberty outscored the Raiders 12-7 in overtime to prevail, 82-77.
With 1:19 left in the fourth quarter, O’Neill was ahead 68-61. In that remaining time Liberty’s Eddie Byrd made two fouls shots, Eddie Soto had five points and Joe Franke scored the tying basket with an assist from Byrd to knot the score at 70-70 with only 3.2 seconds to go.
O’Neill called several timeouts at the very end of the game to try to plan a shot to capture the victory, but was unable to get the last shot in with only six-tenths of a second left.
O’Neill’s Derek Dalition started off the OT by swishing a 3-pointer and a regular field goal to put his team ahead 75-70 with just 2:00 left. Soto lessened the gap for Liberty as he landed a shot. Byrd then tied the game at 75-75 with a 3-point shot.
With less than a minute left in the OT, Liberty’s Markell Jarrette scored the go-ahead basket. Soon thereafter, Byrd was fouled outside the 3-point arc and landed all three of his subsequent foul shots to give the Indians an 80-75 advantage.
Dalition was fouled with only 11.4 seconds displayed on the clock and swished both shots to bring the Raiders within a basket at 80-77.
But Byrd made a pair of foul shots with only 2.5 seconds left to clench the Indians’ five-point victory.
With the win, Liberty improved its record to 2-10 overall and 2-3 in Div. IV. O’Neill’s record fell to 5-8 overall and 3-2 in Div. IV.
“Jimmy Ripa had a good game tonight,” O’Neill Coach Debbie Crowe said. “We blew it ourselves, they deserve the win.”
Ripa led the Raiders with 29 points, including six 3-pointers. Dalition finished with 24 points, including nine points in the third period and five points in overtime.
“This was a great game,” Liberty Coach Jason Semo said. “Bottom line, they are a very good team. Derek Dalition is a good player. Eddie Soto played a good game defensively as he defended their best player, Derek Dalition.
“Every time we play them, it is always a good game,” Semo continued. “Debbie [Crowe] is a good coach.
“For us, the play that signifies what we have to do was the assist by Eddie Byrd to Joe Franke which put us in overtime,” Semo added. “We have to rely on each other and tonight we did. Eddie Byrd made 5 out of 7 foul shots in overtime – that was big.
Semo was very pleased with how his players rallied to get a victory.
“It was an exciting game to get a win,” he said. “I am glad they work hard in practice and glad they had the opportunity to come out on top tonight.”
Liberty, which was scheduled to host Chester last night, has two huge Div. IV games at Tuxedo tomorrow night and at Sullivan West on Friday night.
Byrd led the Indians with a game-high 33 points. He went 13 of 16 at the foul line and hit four 3-pointers. Soto scored 21 points, including 7 of 11 at the foul line.
The Raiders held a 25-16 lead at the end of the first quarter.
But the Indians had a strong start to the second period as they cut their deficit to only a single point after four minutes of play.
Liberty outscored O’Neill by a 16-11 margin in the quarter, but the Raiders led 36-32 at halftime.
The two teams exchanged the lead many times during the third period. Liberty’s Yovanni Fields had a great quarter as he made two 3-point shots and scored another basket.
Heading into the fourth quarter, O’Neill held a 53-50 lead.
The lead also went back and forth early in the fourth quarter. Almost halfway through the quarter, O’Neill went on an 11-point run as Dalition and Ripa knocked down some 3-point shots.
But mistakes by O’Neill and good defense helped turn the game around for the Indians”

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