By Rob Potter
LIBERTY You could say Chester Coach Jon Marsilio was “missed” off after his team’s non-league 66-38 loss to Liberty Friday night.
“They couldn’t miss tonight,” Marsilio said of the Indians. “They just could not miss. They had three or four guys who we didn’t expect to take those kind of shots shooting 3-pointers and making them.
“We had the lead early in the game, but then they just started to make shots,” Marsilio added. “We started out with a 3-2 zone [defense], but then switched to a 2-3 [zone defense] and a man-to-man [defense] to try and stop Liberty.”
Chester jumped out to an early 7-2 lead but then Liberty closed out the first quarter with a 17-1 scoring run to take a 19-8 lead they never relinquished.
As the game continued, Liberty used a combination of good defense and torrid shooting to steadily increase its lead.
The Indians made nine 3-pointers for the game and scored several easy baskets after making a steal or causing a Chester turnover.
Leading Liberty was senior guard Eddie Byrd, who scored a game-high 18 points. He netted half of those points on a trio of 3-point shots.
“I think Eddie has made a 180-degree turnaround in terms of attitude this season,” Liberty Coach Mike Salvia said. “He is more positive and passing the ball to his teammates and getting them more involved in the game. He’s having fun playing basketball.”
While he was pleased to see his team play so well at the offensive end of the court, Salvia was just as happy with the way the Indians played defense.
“Playing good defense has been one of the Liberty team principles since Jason [Semo] was here,” said Salvia, referring to the man who coached the Indians the last few seasons. “You need to play good defense to win basketball games.”
In addition to Byrd, three other Liberty players scored in double figures. Ryan Henry finished with 11 points and Yovanni Fields and Ahmir McCree each netted 10 points.
Tyler Beaupierre and Taylor VanKeuren were the Indians’ top rebounders. Beaupierre grabbed eight rebounds, while VanKeuren had seven rebounds.
“I was very pleased with our effort tonight,” Salvia said. “We had balanced scoring and a lot of our guys got playing time.”
Lawrence Young paced Chester (3-4) with 11 points. Andrew Lakis and Marley Vil each scored eight points for the Hambletonians.