Liberty senior guard Justin Brookhart talks about the Lions' win over Francis Scott Key. (Tom Worgo / Carroll County Times)

Leave it to the Liberty High boys basketball team to rain on another team's parade.

In this case, it was a downpour.


The Lions scored the game's first 10 points, and after a brief letdown in the second quarter, cruised to a 62-49 victory over visiting Francis Scott Key with a strong second half.

"We came out hard right away, then we backed off a little bit," Liberty senior guard Justin Brookhart said. "But once we came back, we got the fire again and continued to put the ball in the bucket."

No scored more than the 6-foot-1 Brookhart, a three-year starter who finished with a career-high 30 points. He also grabbed 10 rebounds. He came into the game averaging 12.6 points for the Lions (9-6, 5-2 county).

"We have been waiting for him to do that," Liberty coach Brian Tombs said. "He's always been a good player, but tonight he had a little extra hop in his step and he put us on his shoulders."

Sophomore guard Drue Giles led the Eagles (5-7, 3-4) with 19 points and Amir Cole, a junior guard, added 12 points. Cole, a starter, picked up his fourth personal foul with 55 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

He sat out the rest of the game while teammate Jackson Eaves, another starter, missed about three minutes in the final quarter because of foul trouble.

"He was very frustrated," Eagles coach Ryan Kimble said of Cole. "I don't think he was prepared to help the team win."

Liberty entered the fourth quarter with a 45-42 lead, but the Lions took control in the period. After Francis Scott Key cut the margin to 48-45 on a Giles 3-pointer, the Eagles went scoreless for nearly four minutes. Liberty went on a 8-0 run during that stretch.

The Lions made eight of 12 free throws in the final quarter and 19 of 26 overall.

Francis Scott Key sank three of eight free throws.

"Liberty did a great job of making their free throws and played a smart game," Kimble said.

Kimble would rather forget his team's poor start.

The Eagles went 0-for-6 from the field in the first 3:52. Liberty capitalized, jumping out to a 10-0 lead. But Francis Scott Key quickly fought back, going on an 8-0 run.

Key used a 5-0 spurt to start the second quarter to go ahead, 17-14, as Giles hit a 3-pointer and made a layup.


Liberty started slowly in the quarter, committing turnovers and missing its first three shots. The Lions picked up its play late in the quarter and closed on a 10-2 run to make it 32-26 at halftime.

Ronak Morgan finished the spurt with a 3-pointer right before the buzzer and Brookhart hit four consecutive free throws during the run. Brookhart had 13 points in the first half.

Francis Scott Key trimmed the deficit to 34-32 with a 6-2 run in the first two minutes of the third quarter.

The Eagles took its first lead of the quarter at 37-36 on a Rashad Giles layup with 3:40 remaining. Francis Scott Key kept the game close in the third quarter before Liberty pulled away in the final frame.

Liberty (62): Nick Tilson 6, Jack Selby 9, Nick Loppatto 4, Ronak Morgan 3, Ben Brown 4, Justin Brookhart 30, Tristan Kent 4, Steven Goetz 2.

Francis Scott Key (49): Grant Stanton 2, Drue Giles 19, Anthony Murray 2, Greg Horrocks 2, Noah Vipond 5, Amir Cole 12, Rashad Giles 7.

Halftime: Liberty, 32-26.