Eagle girls dispatch Brentsville, 48-31, in first-place showdown
Wednesday, Jan. 9
--Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
Liberty tallied the first nine points of the game Tuesday night en route to a key Evergreen District girls basketball win over Brentsville.
In what figured to be the sternest test to Liberty's perfect record since the district was formed in 2009-10, the Eagles took command early in beating the Tigers decisively, 48-31, in Bealeton.
Liberty is now 29-0 all-time in district games.
The outcome pushed Liberty to 2-0 in district play, while Brentsville fell to 1-1.Warren County, which beat Kettle Run 37-30 Tuesday is 1-0 in district play and hosts Liberty Friday in Front Royal at 7:30 p.m.
Both coaches agreed Liberty's potent production from the opening whistle was the game's key theme. Liberty led 9-0, 17-5 and 24-9 at halftime.
"We had a great start. We had talked about doing that, setting the tone and having that carry us through," said LHS coach Ashton Mitchell.
"We didn't match their intensity and aggressiveness basically for the first three quarters," said Brentsville coach Tim Brown.
"Liberty's still the best team (in the district) and this is still the hardest place for us to play," Brown added.
After making the last two state championship games, the Eagles (6-7) entered the year with five new starters. While they've suffered numerous losses -- the most since their 11-10 season of 2008-09 -- they're on pace to defend the district title they've won the last three years.
Mitchell credited her Eagles' defensive tenacity. Liberty held Tiger scoring leader Haleigh Kilby to three points, well off her average of 13, and effectively clogged the middle thanks to emerging post star Kiana Smith.
"We were aggressive on defense. The girls were helping each other, basically playing team defense," the first year coach said.
Brentsville has relied on perimeter firepower at times, but did not connect Tuesday.
"We've been struggling a lot with that part of our game," Brown said. "Teams are starting to play us more man-to-man because of the type of team we are. Right now we need the first shot or two to fall. That didn't happen tonight."
Brentsville tried to drive to the basket only to find Liberty's version of the immovable object in Smith, a lanky 6-foot-2 post who amassed seven blocked shots and altered a half dozen more. Smith also caused some bad passes when she blocked some Tigers' path to the basket.
Smith finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds.
"She's gained so much confidence," Mitchell said.
Smith was certainly pleased with the win, knowing Liberty's history of district supremacy.
"We've gotten more together as a team," she said. "And I've gotten more comfortable. It's good to see us make it count."
Smith scored four points in Liberty's opening 9-0 spree, with India Turner adding three and Ashley Lane two.
Lane finished with 12 points and Turner 11, with Ashley Berger tossing in six.
Ashley Winslow led Brentsville with 11 points, followed by Nicole Egan's nine.
**FAUQUIER GIRLS FALL TO HANDLEY IN OT, 45-39
The Fauquier girls basketball team's struggles continued Monday in a 45-39 overtime loss to Handley.
The Falcons led 30-21 in the third quarter, but headed to overtime tied at 35. FHS star Samie Cooper scored 19 points, but fouled out in OT as the Falcons lost their 10th in a row and fell to 1-10.
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