South Carroll started Friday night's game against Liberty piling up the points, and despite a furious comeback attempt from Liberty, the Cavaliers came away with a 70-63 road win.
The Cavaliers started the game on a 16-4 run and never relinquished the lead, although the Lions at times were in striking distance early on. Henry Cook scored eight of his 16 points in the first quarter by hitting four jump shots, and from there the offense opened up for South Carroll.
"Henry can play from inside or outside, and I thought Steven Baca filled in great tonight," Cavs coach Jim Carnes said. "We shot the ball extremely well, better than we have all year and that was the difference in the game."
Cook tied for the team lead in scoring with Cole Buffington, and Andrew Buckley chipped in 12 points. Silas Kelly didn't play in the game, but his replacement Baca added nine points for South Carroll (5-6, 3-2 county).
Despite the large advantage early in the first, Liberty hung around and trailed by just nine points going into halftime.
But in the third quarter the Cavaliers pushed the pace to extend their lead to as much as 23 points, and the Lions couldn't keep up. Liberty (4-6, 3-2) scored just eight in the quarter and found itself down by 22 heading into the fourth.
Baca scored seven points in the third and Buckley added six and Buffington hit two big shots and brought defensive pressure throughout the contest.
"For us speeding up the game is probably better for us, we have kids that can handle the ball and can shoot the ball well and like to get up and down the court, but we wanted to make them play defense a little bit," Liberty coach Brian Tombs said. "We thought slowing it down at the beginning of the game would allow us to see some matchups and take advantage of some things."
After going scoreless for the first three quarters of the game, Liberty's Colin Rimel came out aggressive in the fourth quarter. He scored all 18 of his points in the final frame, including four 3-pointers.
"They're a great shooting team and they got hot late in the game and started making some threes on us," Carnes said. "We didn't handle pressure well at the end of the game, and I thought we needed to do a better job taking care of the ball."
The Lions used a full-court press for nearly the entire fourth quarter, and forced South Carroll into nine turnovers that facilitated the 32-point quarter for Liberty.
Jack Selby scored 18 points and Nick Tilson finished with 11 for Liberty, while Ryan Turlik added eight points.
Liberty tried to claw its way back into the game, but the fourth-quarter effort wasn't enough to overcome the deficit as South Carroll hit enough shots to outlast the Lions. Cook scored five points in the final quarter to lead the Cavs, as they kept enough distance between them and the Lions to come away with a road win.
"In my opinion South Carroll shot really well to start the game and really well in the third quarter. We played a little timid maybe because they're bigger and stronger than us," Tombs said. "We were playing a lot of young guys in new roles tonight and overall I was pleased, not satisfied, but pleased that our guys hung in there and fought until the end."
South Carroll (70): Cole Buffington 16, Henry Cook 16, Andrew Buckley 12, Steven Baca 9, Quinn Carnes 5, Kyle Dizon 5, Adam Russo 5, Austin Jones 2.
Liberty (63): Colin Rimel 18, Jack Selby 18, Nick Tilson 11, Ryan Turlik 8, Steven Goetz 4, Jarrett Pfeifer 2, Ronak Morgan 2.
Halftime: South Carroll, 32-23.