Liberty sophomore Peyton Scheufele talks about the Lions' win over Westminster.
For the Liberty boys basketball team, Monday’s game against visiting Westminster was a matter of survival.
The Lions had to survive some mistakes and dodge a gritty comeback from the Owls before prevailing 54-46 to stay undefeated in Carroll County Athletic League play.
“They actually outscored us in the fourth quarter,” Liberty coach Brian Tombs said. “We were up (10) going in and they got it down to (three). But our kids showed some composure down the stretch, made some good defensive stops and we finished making our foul shots.”
Sophomore forward Peyton Scheufele led the winners with 13 points and teammate Tristan Kent, a junior center, finished with 11.
“He is figuring some things out,” Tombs said of Scheufele, who had 15 points a 63-55 win Friday night over Winters Mill. “This is first full year on the varsity. Westminster did a good job of taking Tristan away tonight and that’s where Peyton stepped up in a little bit.”
Shawn Blaney and Drue Giles had 15 points each for Westminster.
Liberty (12-3, 6-0 county) led 42-32 heading into the final quarter. Westminster trimmed the margin to 42-34 about a minute into the final quarter on Giles’ 3-pointer, and Blaney’s 10-foot jumper cut the lead to seven points with 4:46 left.
A pair of free throws from Liberty guard Cameron Blankenship made it 45-34 with 6:30 remaining. But the Owls (8-6, 4-3) used a 7-0 run over the next 3:02 to trim the lead to 45-41.
After Liberty’s Jack Merchak made a layup, Giles hit his third 3-pointer of the game to slice the margin to 47-44.
Liberty closed with a 7-2 run and Merchak had a 3-pointer during that span.
“We played OK, but not good enough,” said Westminster coach Brett Kanther, whose team had 19 turnovers. “We were careless on the offensive end. We didn’t take care of the basketball. They deserved to win.”
Liberty opened the third quarter with a Kent jumper and Scheufele free throw to give them a 32-23 lead. The Lions pushed the lead to 10 with 3:47 remaining before Westminster cut the deficit to 38-32 about two minutes later on Denio Blaney’s layup.
Liberty led 42-32 at the end of the quarter.
In the first quarter, Liberty jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first four minutes and Blankenship highlighted the run with a 3-pointer.
It was a rough start for the Owls, who committed three turnovers during that stretch and missed their first five shots. Westminster didn’t score its first points until Jacob Busic made a layup with 3:57 remaining.
The Owls picked up their play in the second half of the quarter and outscored the hosts 8-4 in the last 3:08 to make it 13-8 at the end of the period.
Grant Cavender converted a layup to open the second quarter and boost the Lions lead to 15-8.
But Westminster used a 10-4 run — which Giles sparked with a pair of 3 pointers — to trim the margin to 19-18 with 4:40 to go. Liberty closed the quarter on an 8-4 run to give the home team a 29-23 lead at the break.
Liberty (54): Tristan Kent 11, Cameron Blankenship 7, Jack Selby 6, Peyton Scheufele 13, Jack Merchak 9, Ronak Morgan 2, Ben Brown 2, Steven Goetz 4.
Westminster (46): Denio Blaney 4, Drue Giles 15, Shawn Blaney 15, Joe Wright 5, Jacob Busic 4, Reese Diehl 3.