LIBERTY — The Liberty North boys basketball team fought against Rockhurst but ultimately fell short with a final score of 47-40. The Friday, Dec. 6, home opener was Cy Musser’s first as Liberty North’s new coach.
Liberty North was down 26-18 after the first half and came back to tie the game 34-34 at the start of the fourth quarter.
“We have great senior leadership that loves to compete and, I mean, they want to win. So when it was only an eight-point game at half, they just kept chipping away, and that showed the toughness and character those guys have,” Musser said.
Senior Benny Kaplan lead the team with 19 points overall. Following him was sophomore Justis Braden with 10 points.
“We had an off night shooting, but we fought together. Even when we got down, we came back in the beginning of the fourth quarter. I trust my guys, that’s why I was kicking it out to them whenever they were open. Just so we can try to knock down some shots. I just tried to be a big contributor so we could win,” Kaplan said.
The game was physical with both Rockhurst and Liberty North having six fouls in the first half. Musser was pleased with how the Eagles responded to their halftime adjustments.
“Especially in the second half, we really put pressure on them when we were on offense. In the first half, we kind of let their defense dictate what we did. In the second half, we controlled what we did, and that’s why we were able to chip away,” Musser said.
Along with a new season, the players are acclimating to a new head coach and his system. Musser came from St. Joseph with 26 years of coaching under his belt.
“We need to get more comfortable. Them getting used to a new coach and new routine, that’s going to come with time and that’s what I told them. It’s just one game and we’re going to continue to get better and more comfortable with each other throughout the year,” the coach said.
Eight teams come to the Liberty North Invitational this week, with the Eagles playing the Northeast Vikings in the first round on Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 8:30 p.m.“We have home court, so we just want to get some wins for the fans and basically just try to win that tournament,” Kaplan said.