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Liberty staff playing 'old-man basketball'

Former Liberty boys basketball coach Scott Kohr readies to take a shot from the foul line in a Carroll County Men's Basketball "B" League game at East Middle in January.
Former Liberty boys basketball coach Scott Kohr readies to take a shot from the foul line in a Carroll County Men's Basketball "B" League game at East Middle in January. (KEN KOONS/STAFF PHOTO , Carroll County Times)

This is the first article in a series of stories profiling athletes and teams that are still competing in sports long after their high school careers have ended.

Flashing nearly perfect box-out technique, former Liberty High School boys basketball coach Scott Kohr jumps toward the rim and secures the rebound.

With a quick pivot, Kohr fires an outlet pass to former Liberty player and current boys freshman basketball coach Pete Lester, who streaks down the sidelines.

Taking a few quick dribbles, Lester surveys the court and hits a trailing Ed DeVincent - the former soccer coach and current athletic director at Liberty.

Dribbling at the top of the key, DeVincent notices the defender is several steps off the ball, so he squares up and nails a 3-pointer. This trio is just part of seven former or current Liberty coaches that play in the Carroll County Men's Basketball "B" League on Thursday nights at East Middle School.

"It's a lot of fun. It's a good group of guys that are fun to play with," said Lester, who also co-coaches the cross country team. "It's always nice to get out there and do something athletic."

Lester is joined by fellow social studies teachers Dave Abarbanel, who co-coaches tennis, and Paul Bangle, the Lions' golf coach.

The "B" league consists of 10 teams and they play each other once before the playoffs, which every team makes. So far, the Liberty squad has gone 2-4, but been competitive in nearly every game.

Sprinkled throughout the league are former county players, like Francis Scott Key's Tyler Forster and Liberty's Jason Smith to name a few, and with the exception of Lester - a 2004 graduate - the group of Liberty players represents one of the older ones in the league.

The composition of the squad is like none other in the league and despite the age gap, it hasn't been a problem so far.

"All the guys are in pretty good shape," Lester said. "Especially coach Kohr. He can make some of us look bad the way he gets up and down the court."

Playing in men's soccer leagues for years now, DeVincent decided to get a basketball team together knowing there was good amount of people at the school that would play. DeVincent said he and Kohr played in a league about a decade ago, but it was just them.

"We all get along great. We want to win, but we are just having fun out there," DeVincent said. "Anytime someone gets in someone's face, we are just joking around and having a good time."

Representing the physical education department is Joe Reiter (former girls basketball coach and athletic director) and Erik Barnes, who coached baseball at Liberty for 14 years before stepping down after last season.

Although baseball may be his main sport, Barnes had no trouble holding his ground in the lane and taking a charge, a sight often unseen outside of a high school basketball game. Reiter brings a smooth jump shot and defensive hustle to the squad and the way the ball moves around the court makes it easy to see the chemistry amongst the team.

"Ed came to me and said he was getting a team together and we call it old-man basketball," Reiter said with a laugh. "I played years ago so it's nice to get the old guns together.

"Since I don't coach anymore, I might as well try to put into play what I yelled about to my players back then."

DeVincent said he believes that playing in this league with co-workers outside of school, has helped foster the good atmosphere during the school day between all the staff members.

"Liberty has a great team environment among the teachers," DeVincent said. "99 percent of the time everyone gets along and that extends from the school to the court as well."

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