Liberty Christian Head Coach Butch Clark isn’t sure why his team came out lethargic in last week’s conference showdown with Rivers of Life. The Eagles held a two-game lead in the Metro Conference …
Liberty Christian Head Coach Butch Clark isn’t sure why his team came out lethargic in last week’s conference showdown with Rivers of Life.
The Eagles held a two-game lead in the Metro Conference with a chance to all but seal the conference race, but left with a 68-33 loss, leaving the door open for Rivers of Life (16-5, 13-2) to jump them in the final week.
The team responded with a tough practice Friday and a 79-54 win over Bethel Christian Academy Monday night, and can still win the conference if it wins its final two league games.
“We actually played tonight,” Clark said after Monday’s blowout win. “Last week we just barely showed up. We put out no effort at all, and our guys would be the first people to tell you that.”
Liberty Christian started Monday’s game on a 7-0 run and led 44-22 at halftime thanks to a hounding defense that turned Bethel turnovers into layups.
Freshman guard Andrew Voss got things started for the Eagles with 11 points in the first quarter, and finished the game with a team-high 24.
He hit four of his team’s seven 3-pointers, as well.
“A lot of it had to do with the types of 3-pointers we were taking,” Clark said. “We weren’t forcing them. We were getting kick-outs and ball reversals, so hopefully that’s something we can continue with down the stretch.”
Clark has been critical of his team’s outside shooting most of the season, believing it was the main reason his team wasn’t reaching its offensive potential.
Monday night, Clark saw what his team can look like when hot shooting meets high energy.
“We just absolutely stunk last week, so just playing well was nice,” Clark said. “And usually when you play well, you’re going to win.”
Junior guard Jake Pietzman finished with 17 points and five rebounds, and helped junior forward Kameron Bagby (seven rebounds) control the offensive and defensive glass.
“For a kid that’s 5-foot-10, Jake can play inside or out and he plays really hard,” Clark said. “wThat makes up for a lot of height deficiencies.”
With two conference games remaining, Clark believes his team has to win both to win the Metro Conference championship.
“No one is beating Rivers of Life with the way they’re playing right now,” he said.
The Eagles (18-3, 14-1) travel to Providence Classical Friday and host Westwood Baptist Tuesday in the regular-season finale.
“I don’t think we’ll have any trouble dialing it back up anymore,” Clark said. “Our sights right now are set on winning the conference, and then we’ll see what happens.”
LAYUP DRILL — Jake Pietzman finishes a layup for two of his 17 points Monday night.Kory Carpenter photo.