LIBERTY CENTER — The Lady Tigers outscored invading North Central 21-4 in the second period and went on for the 49-30 victory Saturday night in The Jungle.
Liberty Center never trailed in the game, but led just 10-8 after the first period. The Lady Tigers’ lead was 12-10 when Samantha Graber and Harmony Young hit back-to-back 3-pointers to force a time-out by North Central coach Greg Waidelich.
Following the time-out, Liberty Center added to its run by scoring the next 6 points, including another 3-pointer by Graber. After a North Central bucket by Madison Brown, the Lady Tigers closed the first half with a 7-0 run, with Graber sinking her third triple of the period around baskets by Abby Heath and Samantha Engler.
“It helps when you are making shots,” said Liberty Center coach Tim Davis. “It was really good to see our offense get going (against Hilltop) the other night, and for it to carry over tonight.
“Sam (Graber) got things going for us,” added Davis. “When you are shooting with confidence, it helps.”
Waidelich pointed to Liberty Center’s pressure defense as the key to the Lady Tigers’ second-quarter run.
“That is what a pressure defense does,” said the North Central coach. “We started going too fast and then we started to get out of control. We stopped getting to the right spots.
“I thought we did a good job after halftime (against the press),” added Waidelich. “You have to be patient against it. We were more patient in the second half.”
The Eagles were more successful against the LC defense in the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Tigers 12-8 in the period.
Brown opened the period with a basket, followed by a short jumper from Kendal Bonney. After a lay-up from Aubree Hollenbaugh, North Central’s Kyleigh Westfall buried a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 33-19.
LC answered with a triple by Graber and a free throw from Heath, but North Central tallied the next 5 points, including buckets from Kristen Hickman and Kailey Siebeneck.
Hollenbaugh ended the period with two free throws to give the Lady Tigers a 39-24 lead heading into the final period.
Brown scored for the Eagles to open the fourth quarter, but Liberty Center sealed the win with a 6-0 run over the next 90 seconds. Engler scored the first two buckets in the run, which was capped by a basket from Hollenbaugh.
“I thought Sam Engler was big for us to start the fourth quarter,” said Davis. “She was able to get a couple of steals and turn them into points.
“We were kind of going through the motions in the third quarter,” added Davis. “In the fourth quarter we got back to basics.”
Graber led all scorers with 12 points — on four 3-pointers — and Engler added 10 points. Hollenbaugh tallied 8 and Heath scored 7 for the Lady Tigers.
North Central was paced by Brown with 10 points.
“This was a good game for us,” said Waidelich. “We like to play schools with good competition. They (Liberty Center) can do things other teams on our schedule can not do. This gives us a chance to see how we measure up.”
North Central hosts Montpelier Tuesday in Buckeye Border Conference action.
Liberty Center is now 2-1 on the season. The Lady Tigers travel to Holgate Tuesday.
NC 8 4 12 6 — 30
LC 10 21 8 10 — 49
North Central — Brown 4-2-10, Balser 1-0-2, Hickman 2-0-4, Westfall 0-1-0-3, Bonney 1-0-2, Siebeneck 1-1-3, Fenicle 2-0-4, Hollstein 1-0-2. Totals: 12-1-3-30.
Liberty Center — Hollenbaugh 3-2-8, Orr 1-1-3, Chapa 1-2-4, Young 1-1-0-5, Graber 0-4-0-12, Engler 5-0-10, Heath 3-1-7. Totals: 14-5-6-40.
Reserves: Liberty Center, 39-24.