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Six seniors to lead the Bolts on the hardwood

2020-2021 Liberty High varsity boys’ basketball preview
Ira Hazeltine drives up the court in a non-conference varsity game Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, at home, against Center Point-Urbana. Hazeltine is back in Liberty’s lineup this season as a 6-foot senior averaging 7.1 points per game last year.

NORTH LIBERTY– For now, the Bolts are benched.
Tuesday, Dec. 1, would’ve been the season opener for the Liberty High varsity boys’ basketball team, with a visit from non-conference competitor Washington (Iowa).
However, the Iowa City Community School District extended its 100 percent off-site learning through Friday, Dec. 11, due to continued high COVID-19 positivity rates in Johnson County, and all extracurricular activities, including athletics, are on-hold for the duration.
The season opener was moved to Tuesday, Dec. 15, at Dubuque Senior High School, barring any further extensions to the district’s online only learning waiver. Liberty’s first home game is set for Friday, Dec. 18, as Cedar Rapids Prairie visits.
The Bolts finished the 2019-20 season with a 10-13 record overall and 6-12 showing in the Valley Division of the Mississippi Valley Conference (MVC). Liberty dethroned the Clinton River Kings in the first round of the Class 4A substate tournament, but fell, 52-49, to Dubuque Hempstead in the semifinals. Five seniors– Greg Mitchell, Sam Funke, Ben Houselog, Andre Brandon and Chase Hutchinson– were lost to graduation this past spring. Brandon led the team with 288 points last season averaging 12.5 points and nearly seven rebounds per game. He was also a Second Team pick for the MVC’s All-Division Teams.
Stepping up are six seniors: Ethan O’Donnell, Grayson Tyler, Ira Hazeltine, Kelby Telander, Cody Schroeder and Basil Aldoss.
O’Donnell, at 6-4, averaged 6.9 points per game. Tyler, at 6 foot, averaged 1.3 points per game, and Hazeltine, at 6 foot, averaged seven points per game and was a Valley Division Honorable Mention selection. Telander, at 6-3, was second on the team in points with 259, and averaged nearly 12 points per game. Telander also earned Honorable Mention. Schroeder, at 5-10, averaged 1.4 points in 13 games while Aldoss, at 6-2, averaged 7.7 points per game.
Juniors Griffin Kraft, Ja’Quez Hall, Max Beckman and Kalhan Handoo bolster the varsity ranks this season. Kraft, at 6-1, scored two points in his only varsity appearance last year.
“Our seniors are experienced and extremely hard working,” said Coach Stu Ordman. “Our juniors had a good sophomore season and are anxious to contribute too at the varsity level. We expect to be highly competitive.”
Ordman is in his fourth season with Liberty and will co-coach with Ryan Kelly, who previously served as Ordman’s assistant. “Co-head coaching is a paradigm I’m familiar with, having shared coaching responsibilities with Brandon Horman at Cedar Rapids Jefferson in 2013-14,” Ordman said. “When Scott Kibby asked me to start the Liberty program in May 2017, my goal was to build the foundation for a competitive basketball program. I expected to coach the freshman class through their senior year. With luck, they will have a senior season! I believe working with Ryan Kelley this year will also facilitate his transition to head coaching.”
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, guidelines issued by the governor’s office in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Department of Education, the Iowa High School Athletic Association and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union restrict spectators to two tickets per participant; with masks required at all times. Individual MVC schools have specific policies (admission, concessions, etc.) posted on the conference’s website, www.mississippivalleyiowa.org.
“Our players are disappointed we have not been able to meet in-person,” said Ordman, “but have done a terrific job on our virtual meetings. They are resilient young men who support each other. We hope all families in Iowa and across the nation stay healthy and we can soon begin working together in-person.”

Liberty High Varsity Boys Basketball 2020-21 Schedule (subject to change)
Tuesday, Dec. 15 AT Dubuque Senior 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 18 HOME vs. Cedar Rapids Prairie 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 22 HOME vs. Cedar Rapids Jefferson 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 5 AT Iowa City, City High 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 8 HOME vs. Cedar Rapids Xavier Catholic 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 12 AT Western Dubuque, Epworth 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 15 AT Waterloo East 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 19 HOME vs. Waterloo West 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 22 AT Cedar Rapids Prairie 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 26 AT Cedar Falls 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 29 HOME vs. Iowa City, City High 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 2 HOME vs. Dubuque Wahlert Catholic 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 5 HOME vs. Iowa City West High 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 9 AT Linn-Mar (Marion) 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 12 HOME vs. Cedar Rapids Washington 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 16 AT Cedar Rapids Kennedy 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 18 HOME vs. Dubuque Hempstead 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 19 AT Keokuk (non-conference) 7:30 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 22 First Round, Class 4A Substate
Friday, Feb. 26 Class 4A Substate Semifinals
Tuesday, March 2 Class 4A Substate Finals
Monday, March 8, to Friday, March 12 STATE TOURNAMENT