LIBERTY CENTER — If you ask Liberty Center coach Greg Badenhop, the Tigers are yet to play to their potential for a full 32 minutes.
The results are starting to look pretty good, regardless.
Carter Burdue scored 15 points, Trent Murdock added 14 and Liberty Center led wire-to-wire in a 53-30 win over Otsego Saturday in The Jungle for the Tigers’ third-straight win, one night after picking up a win at Delta.
“The biggest thing for us this year, and the one thing we’ve been preaching all season, is getting to that full 32 minutes,” Badenhop said. “The first quarter was, eh, okay, but the last 24 minutes were better. We’ve got to keep striving to get the full 32 minutes, because I don’t think we’ve gotten there yet.”
Noah Keifer led all scorers with 21 points for the Knights, while Noah Dzierwa added three points. Nathan Corpus, Michael Gonzalez and Joseph Dzierwa each scored two points to round out the Otsego scoring.
Aaron Shafer scored 10 points to give LC three in double figures, while Evan Conrad added eight and Camden Krugh four. Connor Keller chipped in two points to round out the scoring for LC.
“This is exactly what we envisioned this team being able to do,” Badenhop said. “When you have multiple ways to score the basketball offensively and multiple ways to attack a team, either through one special scorer like Carter or even Trent at different times, or through team play and patience and efficiency, like tonight, that is going to serve us well.”
The Tigers jumped out to a 10-4 lead after one quarter and stretched its advantage to 24-14 by halftime. Burdue scored 11 of his 15 before the break.
In the third, LC used a 14-7 run to balloon the lead to 38-21 before a 15-9 fourth quarter put the win away.
Liberty Center held Otsego to 0-21 shooting from beyond the three-point line.
“I thought we did a really good job of executing a game plan that involved knowing who the shooters were,” Badenhop said. “We had to know who we had to close out hard to and know who we could be a little late on the close out. I think that was the first step.
“The biggest thing for our defense tonight was our communication was really good,” Badenhop added. “When you’re communicating against a team like that, one that runs a lot of screens and has a lot of shooters coming off, it makes it much easier to play defense.”
LC made three of its 17 tries from deep and two of its seven shots from the foul line, while the Knights made six of seven tries from the charity stripe.
“Every game is going to be a little different in terms of the physicality that’s being allowed,” Badenhop said. “I thought tonight, we weren’t getting to the free-throw line and they were, but I thought the game flow was good. I think seven free-throw attempts is a small sample size, and if we end up shooting 12 and we make five of our next six, it doesn’t look so bad. We’ll continue working on it, because that has been an issue.”
Liberty Center (8-5) hits the road to take on Northwest Ohio Athletic League rival Wauseon Friday.
O 4 10 7 9 — 30
LC 10 14 14 15 — 53
Otsego — Keifer 8-5-21, J. Dzierwa 1-0-2, Gonzalez 1-0-2, N. Dzierwa 1-1-3, Corpus 1-0-2, Totals — 12-6-30.
Liberty Center — Shafer 3-1-1-10, Keller 1-0-2, Burdue 6-1-0-15, Krugh 0-1-1-4, Murdock 7-0-14, Conrad 4-0-8, Totals — 21-3-2-53.