Boys Basketball

Liberty Christian boys place fifth at state

By Jeff Stahlhut, Correspondent
Posted 3/8/24

Liberty Christian boys basketball team wraps up 17-11 season with fifth-place finish at state tournament.

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Boys Basketball

Liberty Christian boys place fifth at state


With a fifth-place finish in the Missouri Christian School Athletic Association Tournament, the Liberty Christian boys basketball team wrapped up the season with a final record of 17-11, a campaign that coach Butch Clark thought could have ended with even better results than it did.

“We went believing we had a good chance to win the tournament, so the results are far below what we had hoped for. We just didn’t play well in the first game,” said Clark, referencing a 55-47 loss to The Daniel Academy out of Kansas City.

“It is the only game we lost this year that I felt we had the better team and should have won. We just didn’t have it,” added Clark. “I really believe the kids had a tough time coming back from the death of a teammate (Levi Coovert) just two weeks before. They had played really well the week after Levi passed away, as they had dedicated their play to his memory, but they obviously hit a wall the first game of this tournament.”

Sophomore Willy Mueller led the Eagles in scoring in the loss, as the Eagles cut a 14-point deficit to just a point before succumbing.

“We were seeded higher than them, but played poorly and fell 14 behind,” said Clark. “We had back to back possessions that we took a bad shot and they came back to hit back to back three’s to push it to seven points.”

Liberty Christian bounced back in the second game of the tournament, posting a decisive 80-41 victory over Crosspoint – with a bit of a change of focus.

“With the championship no longer an option we focused on helping senior guard Jack Duvel reach 1,000 points in his career at LCA,” said Clark. “Jack needed 47 points and scored a career high 36 points in the win, with Mueller adding 22.”

Next up was the consolation championship, with the winner taking fifth place in the tournament. Liberty Christian again stepped up and posted a victory, a 66-39 win over Christian Learning Center.
“We finished fifth with this win as Jack reached his 1,000 points in the first half of the game,” said Clark. “Jack finished with 18 points.”

Overall, Clark was pleased with the progress made by the team.

“They were exactly where I thought we would be record-wise. We didn’t lose a game all regular season to a team that I thought we shouldn’t have,” he said. “We played a very competitive schedule and went 17-11. This group was 9-21 in the 2022-23 season, so we made great progress this year.”
Much of that progress can be attributed to a balanced attack.

“I thought we had good balance on the team. Jack was our leader in scoring and Willy Mueller averaged a double-double in points and rebounds, but there were quite a few games where other guys stepped in,” said Clark. “Brody Kuehn played solid all year on both ends of the court. Tommy Meyer averaged seven to nine points a game and showed flashes of what we hope to see next year from him. Phoenix Obermann finished the season at point guard, which is tough to do as a freshman, but he did a real good job his last three games.”