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LHS rolls over Eastern View for 3rd consecutive boys hoops win

Saturday, Dec. 8 | By Cody Sealey
Xavier Colbert scored 31 points Friday against Eastern View. -- Photo By Adam Goings
Pat Frazer needed to fill a hole in his team this past offseason.

The Liberty boys basketball coach wanted some aggressive kids who would add size and strength to his roster, so he asked some football players to trade their pads for basketball shoes.

Wyatt Teller, Bubba McCauley, and Mark George answered the call and have played a huge role through the Eagles' first six games. Those gridiron warriors have helped Liberty begin this winter season with a 4-2 record, including a 67-47 victory at home Friday against the Eastern View Cyclones.

“We are combining our football and basketball programs in an attempt to bring in some hard-working, high-effort guys and the additions are doing a great job," Frazer said. "The guys we have added have definitely filled a void we have been missing inside."

The Eagles have shown they are a physical team that has a lot of room to grow. After losing key scorers Ryan Ramirez and Rashawn Latimer, to graduation and transfer, the program has shifted its playing style to a stricter defensive approach in an attempt to defend their title as Evergreen District champions for a fourth consecutive season.

The Eagles are still making adjustments, but they have benefited from having big guys inside to fight for rebounds and block shots. Frazer is pleased with the flashes of defensive growth his team shows.

“Execution is important for us. We have to be able to execute rebounds and do the little things," he said. "We do not have five guys out there who can go out every night and score 20 points so we have to go play tough.

"When we do play physical and guys play their roles, they are able to get outlet passes to our guards," he said. "So far our guys are complementing each other nicely."

Despite having a defensive approach, big guys like Teller and McCauley have opened up passing lanes to create plays on offense. The defense typically sets the tone early by cutting down scoring opportunities and getting rebounds, which then allows play-makers like senior guards Xavier Colbert, last year’s Evergreen District player of the year, and Aaron Patterson to create highlight-reel plays offensively.

“Having a lot of physical guys on our team gets us open," Patterson. Said. "They set screens for us. They are a big factor offensively."

“Our size helps with our team’s aggressiveness," McCauley said. "It allows us to not really worry about foul trouble and lets us just play. Our presence in the paint does not allow teams to just drive in. Offensive teams actually have to guard the post which opens up our outside game."

It has taken a few games for the Eagles to adjust and grow accustomed to playing with each other, but after losing two of their first three games they have bounced back and won three straight.

Against Eastern View, Liberty exploded early offensively. With a sizable lead, the Eagles were able to play tough defense against the struggling Cyclones. Eastern View had a very good third period. The Cyclones finally found a way to penetrate the aggressive Eagles' defense, but the damage was already done.

Colbert finished with 31 points, while senior forward C.J. Lindsay scored 12 and Patterson had 10.
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