Editor's note: This story was updated Saturday morning to read "Levi Manning opened scoring for the Liberators within the game’s first minute.
The Liberators never looked back Friday night.
Bolivar High School’s basketball team downed Springfield Central 65-31 in a courtwarming win that saw the Liberators’ defense on full display.
The Bulldogs were 0-19 going into the contest, and Bolivar Coach Robby Hoegh said their style of play made for an interesting game.
“It was hard to get a degree of flow when a team is putting five guys in the paint,” he said.
The Liberators’ opponent was also without a top scorer Friday, Hoegh said.
Senior Levi Manning opened scoring for the Liberators within the game’s first minute. An early Springfield Central 2-2 tie was wedged apart with an Ian Jones trey with 3:40 remaining in the first quarter to set the score at 7-2. Jones lobbed three 3-pointers in the quarter as the Liberators cruised to an early 14-5 lead at the end of the first.
“Our defense got going, we held them to 11 points in the first half,” Hoegh said.
As the gap began to widen further, Bolivar spread out its scoring, and the team had put up 39 points by the half.
“When you get up by that much, what you don't want to see is kids trying to fire shots on their own,” Hoegh said. “We were really unselfish.”
Bolivar’s defense continued to clamp down on the Bulldogs, limiting the Springfield team to 11 points in the third quarter and nine points in the fourth.
Junior Hunter Berry gave the Liberators a 50-14 lead with 3:45 left in the third quarter, and some quick Bolivar passing gave the home team a 30-point 52-22 lead going into the final stretch.
Berry finished the contest with eight points. Seniors Jaden Spindler and Manning had 10, while top-scorer Ian Jones added 14 to the scoreboard.
“This was a good job of doing what we need to do,” Hoegh said. “Games like that, that’s what you hope for.”
The Liberators face 14-8 Buffalo at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, at home. The Bison beat El Dorado Springs 61-48 Friday.