LIBERTY — Liberty's boys basketball team won against Staley, 54-48, in a close game on Tuesday, Jan. 7.
Liberty started off the game by winning the tip, but the ball was immediately turned over to the Staley Falcons due to a foul. Later in the first quarter, after a few points made for Staley, junior Javion Byers scored a three-pointer that was followed by sophomore Luke Stubbs making another.
At the end of the first quarter, the Falcons made a basket to put them in the lead 8-11.
In the second quarter, Staley made the first shot, but it was recovered by the Jays, leading to senior Grant Stubbs making the first point for Liberty in the second quarter.
After running the ball up and down the court with possession switching to and from both teams, the Falcons called a timeout and rebounded quickly with a three-pointer and a two-pointer seconds later. Stubbs then scored for Jays and Staley made a two-pointer to end the second quarter 18-20 with the Falcons in the lead.
Coming into the second half, multiple shots were made by both teams, starting with Staley making points off a freethrow, then Liberty making a basket. Quickly after the points for Liberty, Staley ran the ball down the stretch of the court to make a three-pointer. After this Liberty gained possession of the ball and made multiple two-pointers in a row ending the third quarter 36-31 with Liberty in the lead.
The final quarter of the game started off with the two teams running the ball, but Liberty's Kellan Goodwin scored a two-pointer. Liberty started to trail ahead as senior Jermaine Booker made a three-pointer that was quickly followed by one from Byers.
“As soon as he passed to me, I knew I was going to shoot it because I know I can make those shots, and then it went in, but I think we need some more ball movement,” Byers said. “It was a little rough for us because we usually make more shots than that and play better as a team.”
In the last seven seconds of the game, Staley scored, which was then matched by Stubbs' final two points, ending the game with Jays in the lead 54-48.
“Credit to Staley and their defense, and our offense wasn’t clicking,” head coach Roger Stirtz said. “We turned the ball over a couple of times, and that didn’t help us. They’re a good team and they crept back in on us, but free throws down the stretch helped us. “