Nearly perfect fourth quarter vaults Liberty boys past Lewis-Palmer 69-61

By Kevin Carmody Updated: December 17, 2013 at 10:27 pm • Published: December 17, 2013 | 10:25 pm 0

By the third quarter Tuesday, Liberty had finally showed signs of life against Lewis-Palmer, the defending 4A state champions.

That paled in comparison to a nearly perfect fourth quarter, when the Lancers could do almost no wrong as they erased a 16-point, second-half deficit in a rousing, 69-61 home comeback win.

AJ Bohuslavsky scored 21 of his game-high 28 points in the second half, Mat Gosselin added 12, and Mike Love poured in all 11 of his in the second half to help Liberty (4-2) avenge a 19-point loss at Lewis-Palmer (4-2) nearly one year ago.

"Everything fell into place," said Love, a senior. "The defense started playing better, we started talking more and our shots began to fall. It was so much fun. The bench was in it, the fans were in it. It all came together."

Liberty trailed 30-19 at the half, but nearly doubled that output in the third quarter as it reduced the deficit to only 44-37 heading into the fourth quarter.

After a 32-point explosion in the final eight minutes, the comeback was complete, and then some.

"When you have kids making shots, that's fun to watch," Lancers second-year coach Ivan Chambers said. "They were confident once they saw those shots falling. We had to pick up our defensive intensity. Once that kicked in, it transferred to the offensive end."

Love's 3-pointer from the right wing off a Bohuslavsky assist gave the Lancers the lead for good at 59-57 with 2:30 remaining. A pair of Bohuslavsky free throws made it a 61-57 game before a layup by Rangers junior Michael Johnston cut the deficit to two with 1:13 left.

Liberty reclaimed the momentum by scoring eight of the game's final 10 points.

With 5:01 left in the third quarter, Lewis-Palmer led 37-21 after a Jonathan Scott drive to the basket. The Rangers maintained a 10-point lead heading into the final two minutes of the quarter before the Lancers began chopping away.

They took their first lead since scoring the opening basket when Love's 3-pointer from the right corner capped a 10-1 run to start the quarter for a 47-46 advantage with 5:24 left.

"We just broke down defensively, especially in the second half," said Rangers senior Chase Stone, who scored 16 points to share the team lead with Sam Strasburger. "Our goal is to keep teams under 50 in a game, and we allowed that in one half. Once they got hot, they weren't going to miss, but we have to take more pride in our defense."

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