Liberty rallies for 51-41 win over New Albany

Down to what could have been the last quarter of basketball for this year’s edition of Olentangy Liberty girls basketball, the Patriots did what they’ve done all season.

They responded.

Down 36-31 heading into the final frame, 23rd-seeded Liberty outscored 15th-seeded and host New Albany 20-5 in the fourth to notch a thrilling 51-41 win in the second round of the Division I District Tournament.

The Patriots were playing without two of their best players: senior captain Kennedy Kashmiry and Sophomore wing Teegan Pifher, both out win knee injuries.

When Pifher, the team’s leading scorer, went down in an early-season loss to rival Olentangy, Liberty responded with a lopsided win over Orange, another rival, in the very next game. When Kashmiry went down with her knee injury in Tuesday’s opening-round win over host Westerville Central, the Patriots, you guessed it, responded.

“I was asking myself all day, ‘Why does this happen to us,’” Liberty coach Sam Krafty said. “They only answer I can come up with is because we can handle it.”

Lauren Spicer led the way with 14 points while Emma Humenay added 12 and Kelly Levering chipped in 10. Sydney Englehart was also solid in the win, finishing with five points.

“Spicer was sensational,” Krafty said. “Humenay, Levering, Englehart. (Gina) Santangelo ran point well … it was a great team effort from a tough group of kids.”

Next up, Liberty will play either 10th-seeded Eastmoor or 12th-seeded Tri-Valley in Wednesday’s D-I district semifinal at a site to be determined. Tip is set for 7 p.m.

By Ben Stroup

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