First-year coach Chris Wunder said Manchester Valley came together to play a complete game.
The Mavericks, who snapped a three-game losing skid with a win over Winters Mill last week, added another Carroll County Athletic League victory to their ledger Tuesday in a 69-58 win over Liberty.
Senior guard Brett DeWees led the way against the Lions with 29 points. DeWees is close to averaging a double-double this winter, and leads the county in scoring with 21.0 points per game.
“We came together as a team and we’ve been stressing team defense and team offense,” Wunder said. “When we work together as a team, good things happen. We handled adversity well, we trusted our teammates, and it was a true complete effort.
“A bunch of different guys stepped up today and that was important for us.”
Senior guards Dahon Saunders and Christopher Wunder scored 10 points apiece for the Mavericks — Wunder scored eight points in the fourth quarter alone.
DeWees scored 20 points in the first half — 11 in the first quarter, nine in the second — to help the Mavs pick up a 36-28 lead at the half. He hit a 3-pointer about two minutes into the game to spark an 8-0 scoring run until Liberty senior forward Peyton Scheufele broke the run with 3:14 left to play.
DeWees sank a second 3 to give the Mavs a 15-8 lead, but an 8-0 scoring run from Liberty gave the Lions a 16-15 lead after the first quarter.
The teams traded shots back and forth in the second quarter, and DeWees scored seven straight points to put the Mavs ahead 22-18. Liberty sophomore guard Elias Rimel hit two 3s give the Lions a 24-22 lead but it would be the last time the Lions led for the remainder of the game.
Liberty senior guard Connor Stewart, who, along with Scheufele, helped lead the Lions with 17 points apiece, scored seven straight points to bring the Lions within three, 38-35. DeWees hit another 3 with 2:46 to go that put Man Valley up 45-38 and a 3 from Scheufele trimmed the deficit 49-43, but the Mavericks led 53-45 after three quarters.
Wunder carried the Mavs in the fourth quarter and knocked down two 3s in the process. The Mavs led 62-49 before a three-point play from Scheufele brought the Lions within 11.
DeWees closed out the contest with a pair of free throws for the Mavs (5-6, 3-3 CCAL).
“We came out today and we were ready,” DeWees said. “We watched film and that was a big thing. We got some info on their guys and I think we locked them down. The boards were big today and everyone was grabbing boards. Keeping their guys off the glass and coming down with those boards to push the ball up the court and getting to the bucket, that was huge.”
The Lions (6-7, 3-2) rebounded from a county loss against Westminster with a win over South Carroll last week and will travel to Century for the first of two showdowns with their crosstown rival on Friday.
“There’s a lot we need to regroup on,” Liberty coach Brian Tombs said. “I thought we played much better at the beginning of the year against much better competition. I give Man Valley credit, they took it to us and we did nothing to adjust. We didn’t play team basketball, we weren’t good in pretty much any facet of the game tonight so you just tip your hat to them. They played a better game.”