Published: February 4, 2014
It was a timeout that changed the course of a rivalry that for the past three years has left Doherty on the wrong side of the scoreboard.
Spartans coach James Lane called his players to the sideline Tuesday night 4? minutes into Doherty's showdown with 5A Metro League nemesis Liberty and implemented a Spartan stronghold full-court press that transformed a 13-5 deficit into a 29-4 run and an eventual 59-47 victory on Liberty's home court.
Doherty (11-7, 4-1) hadn't planned on rolling out the press early in the game, but with the game quickly getting away from the Spartans, Lane decided to unveil his team's full-court press and trapping defense that left Liberty (9-7, 3-2) scrambling for answers in the first half.
"Coach just said we want to push up and make them uncomfortable and just try and get some steals and make some plays," Tynan Velasquez said.
Velasquez, who scored a team-high 15 points, was one of a series of players who tormented Liberty leading scorer AJ Bohuslavksy and helped force 11 steals by Doherty.
Bohuslavksy was held to just three points in the first half and 17 overall. The senior called Doherty one of the top-three defenses the Lancers have seen this year because of their length and size.
"They like to change defenses a lot to catch you off guard, and I guess that's what happened," Bohuslavsky said. "We started off good and they called timeout and changed it up and we couldn't get back."
Liberty coach Ivan Chambers said his team should have been able to adjust better in the first half.
"We have the guards that should have been able to beat that," Chambers said. "We just didn't play well and they did."
Bohuslavsky scored four of Liberty's 13 points in a 13-2 run late in the third quarter that brought the Lancers to within 42-30. The Spartans, however, then received a basket from Eli Peterson and a three-point play from D'shawn Schwartz, who also had a team-high three steals, to open the fourth quarter.
Lane said the game plan was to make sure that whenever Bohuslavsky touched the ball that there would be more than one defenderp.
Shayne Fox (12 points) scored the first two baskets of the Doherty 29-4 first-half scoring run and played with Bohuslavsky on the local Force club team. Fox was a freshman the last time Doherty defeated Liberty - a 62-54 home victory Feb. 9, 2011.
"It feels good," Fox said. It is the first time in Lane's coaching career at Doherty that the Spartans defeated Liberty.
"It's nice to get that monkey off our back," Lane concluded with a grin, "but we really did a good job sticking to our keys to the game."