In every one of his team’s plays Friday night, Jan. 10, coach Robby Hoegh said one element stood out.
The Liberators set a blistering pace to roll over rival Willard 90-64 on courtwarming, but Hoegh said the team’s red hot speed was indicative of a deeper connection on the court.
“They play with intensity, but they love each other with that same intensity,” he said. “That’s why they’re a really awesome, fun group.”
Deep drives tied to kickout passes for 3-pointers put Willard on the ropes early, with Bolivar taking a 25-13 advantage in the first quarter and 46-34 lead at halftime.
“They have a testimony for why they play,” Hoegh said of his team’s proclivity to share. “It’s not about basketball. It’s about showing people what a good life could be when you think about other people. Love is servanthood and sacrifice. That’s what love is. These guys demonstrate servanthood and sacrifice all the time. They love. And that’s what we want.”
Freshman Kyle Pock led both teams with 26 points.
Pock and seniors Dylan Rowell and Hunter Berry each hit four 3-pointers.
The Liberators next played Marshfield in Bolivar on Tuesday, Jan. 14. The score wasn’t available by press time Tuesday.
Scheduled games with Springfield Central, Camdenton and Kansas City Center await the Liberators later this month.
Hoegh pointed out the team’s calendar is full of opportunities to keep the love flowing.
“It’s a tough schedule. Every game is a dogfight,” he said.
But, he added, his team will come loud and ready to put the collective goal ahead of the individual.
“There’s a reason people want to come out and watch them,” he said. “It’s because they don’t care about themselves. They care about the team and they play really hard and they have the right attitudes. They want to be great teammates. It’s as simple as that.”
Lady Libs look for light
Through the hard shell of a tough 2019-20 schedule, Bolivar High School girls basketball coach Ben Glasgow has seen bright cracks of greatness shine through.
The second half of the 2-6 Lady Liberators’ 56-50 loss to Lebanon on Monday, Jan. 6, shone bright, he said.
“I was proud of the second half,” he said. “I was proud of the way we played against Blue Eye. I was proud of the way we finished against Glendale. But we haven’t put it all together. When are we going to put it all together and start playing like that, instead of just in spots?”
Bolivar found itself down 34-15 after two quarters last Monday but charged back, outscoring Lebanon 14-11 in the third quarter and 21-11 in the fourth quarter.
Glasgow said he told his team to take on Lebanon’s lead in chunks, just focusing on the next milestone as the Lady Liberators tried to claw back from their deep hole.
“We just kept trying to take small chunks out,” he said. “I’d call a timeout and say, ‘OK, we’re 6 points away from being down single digits.’ It’s not like Lebanon stopped scoring, our intensity was just different.”
Through the second half, Ashton Lynn and the Lady Liberator defense gave Lebanon fits. Junior scorer Lexi Berry was untouchable, and junior Trinity Williamson soared head and shoulders above her defenders.
Berry led the team with 15 points. Williamson added 10.
“The first half, we were just timid,” Glasgow said. “We didn’t do anything a lot different. We just played with more energy. We have yet to prove that we’re going to come out from the start as the dominant ones, and that’s what I want to see.”
The Lady Liberators put a strong foot forward Monday, Jan. 13, topping Logan-Rogersville 53-52. Lexi Berry scored 32 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter.
Bolivar should have plenty of chances against tough opponents to make good on Glasgow’s hopes this year. After competing in the 27th Annual Gary Keeling Lady Liberator Tournament Monday through Thursday, Jan. 20-23, the team faces 7-5 Springfield Central at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27, in Springfield.
“We’ve got a really good schedule, and it just gets tougher,” Glasgow said. “But, it’s not all judged by the scoreboard. Are we going to give effort?”