Crosstown Rivalry, Part 2
February 23, 2019
Crosstown rivals Liberty High School and Liberty North High School’s battled it out on Friday, Feb. 22, both teams looking for a win. Liberty’s women were able to end the night with a solid win for their record, raising it to 20-5. Members of the team contributed part of their win to the fans, who were vocal in their support, to say the least.
“I feel like the atmosphere of the Liberty section came out to cheer and gave it their all. Also, I feel like we controlled the pace throughout the game and we didn’t get sped up with the third quarter press,” junior guard Olivia Nelson said.
The women on North’s team came to play, starting the game with great energy, but their momentum slowed down during the second half. This allowed the Jays to get some cushion offensively, racking up 17 points in the fourth quarter
“I thought defensively we made a lot of different adjustments. I thought, for the most part, they did well on a lot of those adjustments. What we need to continue to work on is finishing. That second half we just weren’t able to get the ball in the hole which becomes a momentum sucker,” Lady Eagle’s head varsity coach Saree Morley said.
To give the Eagles credit, it was a great game for them when it came to working together to make adjustments based on what the Jays threw at them.
“I think that’s one thing that’s unique for our team is that we all score, we all contribute, so it’s very rare that you see a kid who’s scoring 20-30 points. Everybody’s contributing. Gabi [Burns] had a tough job guarding Olivia but I thought, for the most part, she did a good job on that. And then as a whole defensively we did a good job,” Morley said.
The Jays were able to win this game and are already looking for what comes next. With conference coming up, it’s time to adapt to a new team and their abilities. The Lady Jays take on William Chrisman Monday.
“Districts are brutal. Chrisman’s got some really good guards, they’ve got some bigs that are really skilled with really good hands and can shoot a little bit so they’re gonna be a tough matchup at every spot. We’re gonna have to play really well,” Lady Jay’s head varsity coach Joe Price said.
And as for North, the past is in the past and they are also prepping for district play. They’ll learn and then move on.
“We’re gonna spend some time focusing on them. They have one really good player that’s going D1 so we’ll try to make some adjustments for her. They shoot from the outside a lot so just being able to get outside,” Morley said.
To wrap up the evening of celebrating North’s principal and the women’s game, the men’s Liberty North Eagles suffered a tough loss against Liberty’s Blue Jays. Quarter by quarter, both teams scored around the same amount of points, but the game seemed to get away from the Eagles in the third, only scoring 13 points compared to Liberty’s 20.
“I thought that Liberty did a really nice job of being physical. Once we got up 11-5 they did a really nice job of being physical and taking us out of what we wanted to do and we had a hard time recovering from that,” North’s varsity coach Chris McCabe said.
Liberty was able to keep some of North’s most electric players, like CJ Purcell and Jalen Perry under control, which was essential defensively.
“We guarded well, I thought CJ got hot early but we controlled him for the most part throughout the rest of the game,” Liberty’s varsity coach Roger Stirtz said.
Liberty players like Grant Stubbs, Javion Byers, and James Kinder also held their own, racking up points for their team and contributing to the team offensively and defensively. For Stubbs, having the right mindset was all it took to get him going and to be able to have fun.
“It was just a really fun night, playing against a rival in front of a lot of people. Everyone played well, everyone on the team worked together, and it was just a really nice game and I had a lot of fun tonight… I was just a little worried about playing in front of all the people and the crowd. We were just prepping for North all week and I was really hyped for the game.” junior forward Grant Stubbs said.
Both teams are already looking forward to district play, Liberty with another win under their belt, and North learning how to adjust and tweak their approach to the game.
“Defensively we gave up way too many open looks that allowed them to play in a really good offensive rhythm, so that’s something that’s glaring that we’ll need to address. I think it’s something that if we are able to address it’ll help us be better towards the end of the year,” McCabe said.
Specifically for district play, McCabe and his assistant coaches are planning to meet during the week to perfect a gameplan to make sure they have the best chance at winning. “We’ll see Fort Osage on Thursday. Our coaches have been doing a nice job preparing for a couple weeks already. We’ve got a good detail and scout on them… [we will] Make sure we articulate it to the guys on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and have a gameplan and see how it goes. But they are a good team, they’re physical, they’re strong, and they’re athletic so we’ll have to play really well to have a chance to win,” McCabe said.
Liberty has the energy and skill they needed to win Friday’s game, and there wasn’t a single player who didn’t understand the objective of Friday’s game.
“I told them everyone did a great job playing their role tonight. Grant was very active tonight on both ends, I thought James Kinder was very special tonight, he brought it, Javion Byers shot the ball and gave us some good offense in the first half. Jake Anderson absolutely buried some threes in the second half. Everyone just right down the list did a very good job,” Stirtz said.
As for Liberty, they played well Friday, and if they can keep that same energy and motivation up during practice, they could very well have a shot at winning their next district game.
“We only have two days to prepare because we play them on Monday. We just gotta play good defense and play in front of them and play like we did tonight,” Stirtz said.