Liberty’s 4th-quarter surge beats Brookfield

LIBERTY — Liberty started off slow against Brookfield, but the Leopards finally overcame the Warriors Wednesday at Liberty High School, 65-44.

Sophomore Sharda Williamson led the Leopards with 22 points.

Liberty turned on the defense in the fourth as it outscored Brookfield 26-10 in the final quarter.

“We were lacking effort in the beginning,” she said. “Then we started making our shots, and the game turned out good.”

Williamson’s teammate, senior China Tate, added 15 points.

Standing at 5 feet, 1 inch, Tate was the shortest girl on the court. However, she didn’t have a problem driving for layups, diving on the floor for the ball and displaying her all-out hustle — playing taller than her frame for Liberty (2-1, 1-0 All-American Conference, Blue Tier).

“We pushed the ball and outhustled them,” Tate said. “We passed the ball, swung it around, and got open shots and layups. I thought we played well.”

It was a tight game for three quarters.

Liberty led 11-8 after one. After getting outscored by two in the second, Liberty took a 20-19 lead into halftime. Brookfield’s Rebecca Litz had a three-point play at the end of the third to cut the Liberty lead to 39-34. Litz had a team-high 11 points for Brookfield.

Brookfield seniors Dana Sydrowski and Tori Sheehan each scored eight points for Brookfield. Bailey Drapola had seven.

“My seniors Dana and Tori control the game for us,” Brookfield coach Mark Morgan said. “If we’re not playing well, it’s usually because they’re not playing well.”

“We played really hard. We played tough defense. Our major thing was stopping Drapola and Tori and we executed the plan,” Liberty coach Deidre Watson said.

Karrington Rucker and Nysa Gilchrist each chipped in with nine points for Liberty.

“We got outplayed,” said Morgan, whose team dropped to 1-1, 0-1. “Liberty did a great job offensively in transition. Defensively, they kind of threw us off. We do a great job of executing in practice. Now I have to find a way to make that translate in the game.”

Liberty improves to 2-1 on the year after winning three games all of last season.

“We had a bunch of freshman last year and now they’re sophomores so we have some experience now,” Watson said. “We have three returning seniors. We’re maturing.”