Two middle-of-the -pack Big 10 Conference teams coming off impressive games Wednesday went at it tooth-and-nail Friday night at the Liberty gym.
When the dust had cleared, Philip Barbour had emerged with an entertaining 61-59 win over Liberty in prep girls basketball action.
Freshman Tiffany Thompson's baseline jumper with :09 to play lifted the Colts (9-8, 7-7) to victory, wiping out a courageous, second-half comeback by the Mountaineers (5-11, 5-9).
"I just told the girls to be calm and make sure we hit our free throws," Philip Barbour coach Tammy Martin, whose team upset Lewis County two nights before, said. "We weren't patient enough in the second half, and once we started running, it played to Liberty's advantage."
Liberty wiped out a 14-point halftime deficit (32-18) behind Valerie Bramel, Katy Orndorff and Lindsay Brown.
Orndorff scored all 16 of her points in the second half, while Bramel scored all but one of her 15 during a run that saw Liberty finally pass the Colts with 3:24 to play at 51-50.
This came when Brown, who posted game-high totals in points (17) and rebounds (21), scored off a fine feed from Bramel and then added a free throw.
But Gina Ware hit four straight free throws, and Amber Kelley's 10-footer pushed the Colts back to a five-point lead with 2:30 to play.
But Orndorff's 3-pointer 18 seconds later got Liberty back on track, and Bramel's two free throws with :26 to remaining tied it at 59-59, setting up Thompson's heroics.
"I think the fourth quarter of the Bridgeport game kind of carried over into this one," Liberty coach Larry Ritter said, referring to Liberty's loss to No. 1 Bridgeport after battling the Indians nearly even for three quarters. "I have to give our kids credit for not giving up and to a few of our kids who were in the game at the end who normally don't play in these situations."
Four Mountaineers fouled out in the contest.
Ware led the Colts with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Tana Phillips added 11 points and nine rebounds. Thompson added 11 points, while Kelley chipped in nine.
Sports writer Greg Talkington can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.