Irish girls can't match Patriots' quick start

Liberty Christian leaps to a 16-5 lead Friday night on its way to a 59-37 girls Southeast B District South basketball win.

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WALLA WALLA — Liberty Christian and DeSales used a full-court press from the get-go here Friday night in a girls Southeast B District Southern Division basketball game.

But the Patriots jumped to a 16-5 lead and the Irish never recovered as Liberty Christian improved to 6-0 in division play with a 59-37 win.

"They were well prepared today," Irish coach Tim Duncan said of the Patriots. "They’ve been a little inconsistent this year, but they were up today."

DeSales got a 3 from Caitlin Duncan and a deuce from Erin Giusti to close out the first quarter and cut the Patriot lead to 16-10.

The Irish got another 3-ball from Duncan to creep within 22-17 with 1:50 left in the half, but DeSales would get no closer on this night.

LC scored the last five points of the half to lead 27-17 at the break.

A Duncan free throw ended a Patriot 13-10 run as LC increased its lead to 40-27 with 1:24 left in the third.

The Irish bench got hit with a technical and Kelsey Harding, who connected on 10-of-16 attempts from the charity stripe on the night, drained both free throws, and the Patriots got the ball. Hollie Patterson drilled a trey and the Patriots jumped the lead to 45-27 with 1:07 left in the third. LC never looked back.

The Patriots forced the Irish to turn the ball over on their first five possessions of the fourth, while hitting four consecutive free throws. The lead, following Katie Ellis’ two free throws with 5:04 left, swelled to 51-29.

Jamie Majerus hit a bucket and two free throws to cut the Patriot lead to 54-37 with 2:12 left. The Irish would not score again.

Harding finished with 19 points to lead the Patriots and Hannah Berges posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Duncan led the Irish with 15 points. Giusti and Majerus each added nine as DeSales dropped to 2-2 in South Division play.

"They (Patriots) did everything better than we did," coach Duncan said of the loss. "We took their offensive rebounding away in the second half as that killed us in the first half, (but other than that), it wasn’t one of our better efforts."

The Irish traveled to Pomeroy Saturday.

"We’re not giving up," Duncan said. "It’s a growing process. We’ll respond. I have a lot of confidence in the kids and we’ll get it turned around starting (Saturday) night."

LIBERTY CHRISTIAN (59) — Harding 4-10 10-16 19, Ellis 1-5 4-7 6, H. Croskrey 3-5 0-2 7, Deatherage 3-7 0-0 6, Patterson 3-4 2-2 9, Berges 4-7 2-2 10, Koller 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 19-40 18-29 59.

DESALES (37) — Konen 0-2 0-0 0, Higgins 1-7 1-2 4, Klicker 0-2 0-0 0, Acock 0-3 0-0 0, Duncan 5-17 3-5 15, Giusti 4-9 1-4 9, Blanc 0-4 0-0 0, Majerus 3-4 3-6 9, Hanson 0-1 0-0 0, Zander 0-2 0-0 0, Ferrel 0-1 0-0 0, Crowley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-52 8-17 37.

Liberty Christian 16 11 20 12 — 59

DeSales 10 7 12 8 — 37

3-point goals —LC 3-7 (Harding 1-4, Ellis 0-1, Croskrey 1-1, Patterson 1-1), DeS 3-21 (Konen 0-1, Higgins 1-5, Acock 0-1, Duncan 2-7, Giusti 0-1, Blanc 0-4, Zander 0-1, Ferrel 0-1). Total fouls—LC 14, DeS 21. Fouled out—none. Technical fouls—DeS (coach). Rebounds—LC 33 (Berges 10), DeS 35 (Duncan 9). Turnovers—LC 20, DeS 23. Assists—LC 12 (Ellis 4, Berges 4), DeS 5 (Duncan 2).

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