With 3:27 remaining in the third quarter, Liberty boys basketball trimmed the deficit to three against South Carroll, energizing the raucous student section. However, the Cavaliers remained poised as seniors Colin Maynard and Chase Fowble scored back-to-back buckets to regain momentum.
Those baskets, along with a score from senior Hunter Curtin, put the finishing touches on a 7-0 South Carroll run in the final 1:30 of the third quarter. That stretch quieted the hometown crowd and galvanized the Cavaliers (2-1, 4-4), who built on their lead in the 61-46 victory.
“It was huge. The past few games we’ve been struggling closing out games,” Fowble said of the run. “Going into that fourth quarter with that big of a lead was just amazing for us.”
Building on the energy of the latter stages of the third, Maynard caught fire in the final quarter. He scored 11 of the Cavaliers’ 13 fourth-quarter points, including a trio of 3-pointers from the wing that erupted South Carroll’s bench and fans. Maynard scored all 13 of his points in the second half, often the beneficiary of the guards drawing defenders and kicking out to the wing for open shots.
“I just let it fly, I didn’t really think too much,” Maynard said of fourth-quarter performance. “I just thought it was going to go in and it went in.”
The Cavaliers started the game with terrific movement offensively, scoring 22 points in the opening quarter. Fowble scored eight of his 15 points during the quarter, as South Carroll effectively moved the ball and found openings on the backside. Senior Karson Pavlik also found an early groove attacking the basket posting seven of his 11 points in that frame.
“I just think they outplayed us from start to finish,” Liberty (3-1, 8-2) coach Brian Tombs said. “I think they wanted it more. I thought they did a good job moving the ball, getting the looks that they wanted. Our energy did not match there’s and it showed.”
South Carroll maintained their offensive rhythm in the second quarter, as junior Owen Scott attacked the rim. Scott tallied nine of his 15 points over those eight minutes, the lead cog in the Cavaliers’ offensive output. With 37 first-half points, the Cavaliers entered the break with an 11-point advantage behind stout defense and unselfish offense.
Trailing by 11 at the break, Liberty’s offense was vastly more effective in the early and middle stages of the third quarter. Senior guards Shane Stewart and Elias Rimel found openings on both the interior and the perimeter, trimming the deficit to three. However, the Cavaliers’ defense tightened and the aforementioned third-quarter stretch run allowed them to gain control of the game once again for a pivotal victory.
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“What worked is we finally passed the ball,” South Carroll coach Jim Carnes said of the offensive success. “In previous games, we’ve been settling for too many threes. We got inside, got some easy buckets inside. Then when you get those, things open up on the perimeter for us. That’s the best we’ve played. We’ve played some tough teams and we’ve been close. This is the first time we’ve put all four quarters together.”