South Carroll senior guard Brad Schulze scored a game-high 26 points to lead the visiting Cavs to a 61-50 win over Liberty last night.
The Lions (6-10 overall, 1-1 in the county) were playing catch-up all night and caught the Cavs (8-7, 2-0) with 2:10 left in the third quarter when Chris Peay hit a jumper to tie the score at 37.
But the Cavaliers answered with the last seven points of the quarter to take a 44-37 lead and never were in trouble again.
Tom Luster scored two baskets and Greg Mihalko made a three-pointer during the stretch.
It was a lot of Schulze the rest of the night. He scored 13 of the Cavaliers' 15 first-quarter points and scored the Cavs' first four points in the fourth quarter.
"Schulze was playing real well and then we had the layoff and he came back and is still playing well. He's really on a hot streak right now," said South Carroll coach Jim Carnes.
Carnes said the defense played a big part in the Cavaliers' late third-quarter run. His team went with a 1-3-1 zone that stifled the Lions' attack.
"We're very fortunate to come out of here with a win," he said. "They've been playing real well and we knew we had a battle on our hands. The defense late in the third played a big role."
The Lions closed the gap to three midway through the fourth when Josh Gursky scored inside to make it 48-45, but that's as close as theywould get.
"I'm proud of the fact we got back in the game those couple of times, but we just couldn't get over the hump," said Liberty coach Scott Kohr. "At crunch time, we made some mistakes and left them open for some shots. They shot the ball extremely well."
Nine different Cavaliers scored, with Mihalko getting nine and Luster eight behind Schulze's effort.
Joe Monar led the Lions with 12 points. Brian Trone and Gursky both finished with nine.
There were four ties early in the first quarter before South Carroll went on a 5-0 run late to take a 15-11 lead.
Schulze was hitting from everywhere in the first quarter, driving inside and hitting jumpers from the outside. He scored the Cavs' first eight points and then hit a three-pointer with just under two minutes left in the quarter to give the Cavs their four-point lead, but Peay hit a short jumper to cut the lead to 15-13.
In the second quarter, the Lions went the first 6:50 without a field goal but stayed close with five of eight from the free-throw line.
South Carroll went on a 10-4 run to close out the half and to give it a 29-22 lead. Jason Harich hit one of his two three-pointers in the quarter at the buzzer.
With starting forward Brian Peltier in foul trouble, Matt deWitt scored four big points off the bench and did a good job rebounding.