Five of the six seniors on the Liberty girls’ basketball team started and scored the first seven points of the game against Truman on Friday night at Liberty High School.
The sixth senior, Morgan Fleming, led the Bluejays with 17 points, and senior point guard Sydney Offield put the game away in the fourth quarter by making all 12 of her free-throw attempts.
It was storybook final home game for the seniors, who helped Liberty to a 67-56 victory over Truman. The Bluejays improved to 20-3 on the season.
“It has been so special,” Offield said. “Eighth grade year we all played against each other and hated each other and were competitive. Now we are the best of friends. The last four years has been a lot of fun.”
Although Liberty never trailed, the fourth quarter was filled with drama thanks to the play of Truman junior Kierra Collier and sophomore Erin Davis, who tried hard to dampen the Bluejays’ party.
Collier scored 14 of her game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, and Davis made two of her six three-pointers in the fourth and finished with 20 points.
Liberty appeared to be in complete control midway through the fourth quarter with a 55-41 lead. But that’s when Collier started dropping baskets at a rapid rate. One of those field goals helped Truman close it to 55-51.
“This showed that we can work hard together and play as a team, and even though we lost, it was still a good game,” Davis said.
Offield answered Truman’s challenge when she stopped the 10-0 run with two free throws. She continued to make free throws down the stretch, helping the Bluejays pull away with a double-digit win.
“It was a great win in a tough conference matchup,” Fleming said. “We played really hard. We had a great crowd. It was a very special night for us.”
The way the first half started it appeared Liberty was headed to an easy victory. A free throw by Fleming at the start of the second quarter gave the Bluejays a 20-7 lead.
Truman found its stride behind the driving baskets from Collier and a couple of three-pointers from Davis.
Collier and Davis really hurt the Bluejays in the final 2 minutes of the second quarter. Trailing 25-16, the Patriots scored on a three-pointer from Davis. Collier ended the scoring in the first half with a basket, cutting Liberty’s lead to 25-21.
But every time Truman made a run, Liberty had an answer.
“A blessing for this team all year is the senior leadership,” Liberty coach Noah Simpson said. “We are lucky to have those kids and lucky to have their fight. They do a great job.”