The Falcons simply had no answer for the one-two punch of the Lions Corinne Costa (12 points) and Deanna Watney (11), as Freedom dropped its fourth consecutive game, 56-30. "It was a great team effort," said Liberty coach Glenn Stonebarger. "Everybody had well-rounded scoring, and on defense they played with a lot of heart."
Costa, who stands 6-feet 4-inches, terrorized the Falcons from the opening tip, scoring eight points in the first quarter to vault the Lions to an early 13-5 first-quarter lead. When Costa and Watney weren't putting the ball in the basket, they were wreaking havoc in the lane.
Costa finished with 16 rebounds and three blocked shots, and Watney added seven rebounds to help Liberty hold its opponent to 30 or fewer points for the second time this season.
The Lions (13-9, 7-5 BVAL) played arguably their most complete game of the season, methodically wearing down the Falcons with their tall front court of Costa, Watney (5-11) and Abby Lange (6-1), who chipped in with 10 points.
The Lions finished the first quarter with an 11-5 run to take a 28-15 lead into the second, and the team continued to extend that margin the rest of the night. "I think we played really well, especially when we played as a team," said Costa.
The Falcons (5-17, 1-10 BVAL) were stifled on the offensive end and held to single digits each quarter except the fourth, when they scored 10 points.
Kim Kicenski was one of the few bright spots for Freedom, finishing with nine points. Sophomore Jackie Zepeda also chipped in with 10 points for the Falcons.
Despite the loss, Freedom head coach Jeff Jonas, who knew coming into the season that his young team would need to learn on the fly, took an upbeat approach to the loss, noting that his players are starting to learn from their mistakes, and always show good effort on the floor.
"They played hard all the way through," said Jonas. "It's not always about the scoreboard, but giving your best effort. Sometimes, I think, it even takes a while to learn what you're doing wrong." Freedom finishes its season with games against Deer Valley, Antioch and Ygnacio Valley.
The Lion victory, combined with Heritage's 42-32 loss to Clayton Valley, moved Liberty within one game of third place in the BVAL standings. The two teams will collide on Friday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. The results of Liberty's match-up with Ygnacio Valley, and Heritage's with Carondelet, were not available as of press time. Heritage beat Liberty 59-50 Jan. 15 in the teams' only other meeting this season.
Freedom, which sits in last place in the BVAL, returns to the court Friday at home at 7:30 p.m. against second-place Deer Valley.