Liberty Christian Academy jumped out to a 14-point lead after one quarter in their win over New Haven in the opening round of the Battle in Bourbon Invitational.
Liberty Christian (10-3, …
Liberty Christian Academy jumped out to a 14-point lead after one quarter in their win over New Haven in the opening round in the Battle of Bourbon Invitational.
Liberty Christian (10-3, 5-0 MAC) beat New Haven 61-51 in the opening round of the tournament. The Eagles outscored New Haven 18-4 in the first quarter in the opening round win.
“I thought we played a pretty good ball game,” Liberty Christian Academy head coach Butch Clark said. “We did a lot of things really well. But we couldn’t stand prosperity. Same thing happened when we played Wellsville a couple of weeks ago. We were up 20 a couple of times on New Haven and should have put them away. We took a bad shot, turned the ball over. And then they come down and drain a three.”
New Haven trimmed the Liberty Christian lead down to 10 points in the fourth quarter and put the Eagles on the free throw line down the stretch as they tried to claw back from the deficit. After missing his first two free throws, freshman Phoenix Obermann knocked down four free throws to help put the game away for the Eagles.
“They were fouling,” Clark said. They cut it to 10. They thought they had a chance of getting back in it. Phoenix missed two, but after that, he knocked down four in a row. So that keeps the game where it needs to be. So when we consistently step to the line and hit free throws. That’ll be a great day.”
Clark identified free throw shooting as one of the areas the Eagles need to improve on over the remainder of the season. He also believes defensive execution is something the Eagles need to improve on down the stretch. Clark said the Eagles gave the New Haven shooters too much space on the defensive end of the floor.
He did credit senior Brody Kuehn for his strong defensive effort in last week’s win.
“Brody did an exceptional job on his guy,” Clark said. “He closed out. You could tell he was focused on playing good defense. And he was there just about every trip down the court. So, when we get five guys doing that, we’re gonna be ok.”
Senior Jack Duvel led the Eagles with 21 points. Duvel also finished tied with Kuehn with three assists. Sophomore Willy Mueller logged another double-double. He scored 11 points and had 10 rebounds. Six of his 10 rebounds were on the offensive side of the ball. Tommy Meyer also reached double figures for the Eagles. He had 14 points. He also led the Eagles with five blocks.
With the win over New Haven, Liberty Christian has already eclipsed their win total from last season. They finished last season with a 9-21 record but finished last season by winning seven of their final 14 games.
Liberty Christian was slated to square off against Valley Jan. 3 in the semifinals of the Battle in Bourbon Invitational before wrapping up the tournament in either the first or third place game Jan. 5. The Eagles will look to avenge an 80-72 loss against Valley last season.
“It’s going to be a challenge in January,” Clark said. “We’ve got a couple games on the schedule we should win. But most of them, we’re going to have to play well to win. You always got one or two that you know you’re going to win that game. But most nights, I’d say if we’ve got 10 left, there’s probably eight of them that are going to be a struggle. Starting with tomorrow (Wednesday) night."