By Rob Potter
LAKE HUNTINGTON The Liberty Indians recorded a 56-38 victory on Friday night over the host Sullivan West Bulldogs in an Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV basketball game.
The score was tied at 2-2, 4-4 and 6-6 in the opening moments of the contest.
But with 3:39 remaining in the first quarter, Liberty’s Yovanni Fields scored inside the key and was fouled. Although he missed his free throw, Fields’ basket gave the Indians an 8-6 lead.
Liberty (4-11, 3-5 Div. IV) then held the advantage for the rest of the game.
The Indians pushed their lead into double digits at 23-13 when junior guard Eddie Byrd made a 3-point shot with 1:14 remaining in the second period.
Byrd made another shot from beyond the 19-foot, 9-inch arc midway through the third quarter to extend his team’s lead to 14 points at 35-21.
SW cut its deficit to 10 at 41-31 when Alex Manzi swished a 3-pointer with 6:18 left in the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs drew to within nine at 43-34 when E.J. Franskevicz made a 3-point shot with 5:48 left.
But Liberty answered with an immediate 6-0 scoring run. Byrd, Marshon Williams and Eddie Soto scored baskets to give the Indians a 49-34 advantage with 4:26 to go.
Byrd, who made a trio of 3-pointers on the evening, led Liberty with 22 points. Teammate Joe Franke added six points.
“It was a good game,” Liberty Coach Jason Semo said. “It was a well-played game by both teams.”
Franskevicz led SW (1-16, 0-7 Div. IV) with 12 points and Lucas Bauer netted 10 points.
Alex Manzi and Mike Durkin added six points apiece for the Bulldogs.
“We were hoping to make it two wins in a row tonight,” said SW Coach Cliff Kelly, noting that his team recorded its first win of the season the night before against Port Jervis. “E.J. [Franskevicz] did a good job tonight by scoring 12 points. We played pretty good defense, but we didn’t generate enough offense. That has been the case for us all season.”
Note: The five SW senior players Lucas Bauer, Mike Durkin, Chris Ellison, Andy Kinch and Alex Manzi and senior cheerleader Irene LaGrutta and their parents were honored in a brief ceremony at halftime.