While the result was never in doubt, the way coach Barry Green went about attacking the Franklin Indians was against the norm for most high school basketball programs.
Every player that dressed played within the first five minutes of Monday’s game, something Green takes pride in.
“To build a team, everybody has to contribute,” he said. “Today’s student-athlete has to feel like they contributed, and to feel that way, they have to be in the game.”
Green, the 2015 Carroll County Times girls basketball Coach of the Year, relies on a platoon-like substitution pattern in every game. With strong showings across the board from both units, the Lions defeated its nonconference opponent with ease, 52-19, Monday night.
“I thought every rotation we put on the floor executed well, the fear of not playing to our full potential was dissipated right away,” Green said.
It was another strong night for Jenna Liska. She finished with 12 points and showed her versatility and toughness no matter who was on the floor with her.
“She makes us go,” Green said. “She scores inside, outside and she has such a high IQ that it allows her to make some great passes. She can play with anyone.”
When Liska finally took a breather, the second platoon hit the floor and picked up right where the starters left off. Gigi Hall and Jess Hiller led the unit, now whole and healthy, adding an extra element to the Lions on both sides of the court. The extra depth is key as the postseason approaches. The group sacrifices touches and minutes for the team as the Lions ready to defend their regional championship.
Carroll County Daily Headlines
“They both bought into our culture and our ultimate purpose to win basketball games,” Green said.
Hall, who was one of three Lions that missed time earlier in the season injured, led the second platoon throughout the night. Her 11 points were key for the team as the Lions took control early and never looked back.
“It’s really important to bring the energy off the bench because it really helps when the whole team has energy,” Hall said.
Starters like Liska have also bought in to the culture Green has built at Liberty. While other players may not be ecstatic with being pulled so early in the game, the Lions starting five came out and remained on their feet, supporting and cheering on Hiller and the gang.
“We’re always encouraged to cheer for our teammates,” Liska said. “When that second rotation goes in, it’s even more important for us to give them the energy and the confidence they need.”
With not one, but two impactful units and a culture where everyone wants to see each other shine, Liberty looks as good as it has all season with the playoffs fast approaching.
“We’re happy that, again, we are continuing to get better as we’re now whole,” Green said. “Everyone is locked in.”