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Lions chew on Bolts

Ono-Fullard leads nine Liberty players in 47-37 loss to Linn-Mar
Freshman Haley Schroeder flies in for an attempt at two on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at home, against Linn-Mar. Schroeder had a three-point night for Liberty in a 47-37 loss.

NORTH LIBERTY– The Liberty High varsity girls picked up their third win of the season and a morale boost, Saturday, Feb. 6, on the road, winning a non-conference game against the Williamsburg Raiders. The win improved the Lightning’s record to 3-9 overall, dipping Williamsburg to 8-10.
The celebration was short-lived however, as the Linn-Mar Lions rolled into North Liberty on Tuesday, Feb. 9, for a Mississippi Valley Conference (MVC) Mississippi Division contest. The Lions came in at 6-6 in the division and 8-7 overall while the Bolts sat at 2-7 in the division.
An inspiring start for Liberty ended in a 47-37 victory for Linn-Mar.
Haley Napoli put the Bolts on the scoreboard with an early three-point bucket giving Liberty a 3-0 lead. Keiko Ono-Fullard, Sunny Yarnell and a three-pointer from Kennedy Daugherty combined for a 10-5 advantage at the end of the first period. Linn-Mar fought back, gaining on Liberty in the second period, but timely baskets kept the Bolts ahead, 18-17, at the halftime break. A pair of Ono-Fullard free throws broke a 12-12 tie in the quarter.
A three-pointer by Haley Schroeder tied the game at 23-all in the third period and a trey from Ava Meyer closed out the quarter with the Lions ahead, 30-26. Linn-Mar took a 10-point lead, 38-28, in the fourth period with 3:53 remaining. Bella Tafolla and Brynlee Slockett put in back-to-back three-pointers to narrow the gap to 40-34 but late fouls gave the Lions a boost before Tafolla sank her second three-pointer. Liberty still trailed, 46-37, before a Linn-Mar free throw in the final 16 seconds.
Ono-Fullard led nine Bolts in scoring with eight points, six rebounds and four assists.
Postseason play, with a shot at the 2021 state tournament, opened for Liberty on Wednesday, Feb. 17, in a Class 5A Region 7 first-round battle with the Kennedy High School Cougars, in Cedar Rapids. The winner advances to a Saturday, Feb. 20, semifinal against Valley High School, in West Des Moines, at 7 p.m. while the regional championship will be decided on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at the site of the highest-ranked team. Cedar Falls and Cedar Rapids Jefferson are in the top half of the bracket and play on Feb. 20 in a semifinal contest.

Linn-Mar 47, Liberty High 37
Scoring— Keiko Ono-Fullard 8, Bella Tafolla 6, Ava Meyer 5, Sunny Yarnell 4, Kennedy Daugherty 3, Brynlee Slockett 3, Haley Schroeder 3, Haley Napoli 3, Avery Gaudet 2
3-point baskets— Tafolla 2, Daugherty 1, Meyer 1, Slockett 1, Schroeder 1, Napoli 1
Assists— Ono-Fullard 4, Daugherty 2, Gaudet 1, Slockett 1, Schroeder 1
Rebounds— Ono-Fullard 6, Gaudet 5, Schroeder 4, Daugherty 3, Yarnell 2, Meyer 2, Napoli 2
Blocks— Yarnell 1
Steals— Gaudet 1, Tafolla 1, Yarnell 1