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Liberty tops SH in wake of announcement

by Chris Vannoy

SPORTS WRITER

LOST CREEK -- Katie Orndorff scored 21 points as the Liberty Mountaineers made sure coach Larry Ritter got his retirement tour off on the right foot with a 51-48 win over South Harrison.

Ritter, a coach at the school for 39 years, announced before the game he would be retiring at the end of the season.

"This is it, but I'm not making a wild thing of it," Ritter said. "I've seen a lot of good ones and a lot of bad ones and a lot of close ones. There's still a spark there, but I think it's time to let somebody else step in."

The game started out sloppy for both teams as they combined to commit 40 turnovers and shot just 24 percent from the floor as the Mountaineers (1-3) built a five point lead at 19-14 heading into halftime.

The lead wouldn't last long as the Hawks (2-2) got a pair of free throws from Kayla Lawrence and a 3-pointer from Desiree Evans to tie the game up at 19 with 6:53 left in the third.

After battling back and forth throughout much of the quarter, Orndorff would take over.

A jumper in the lane with 1:09 left in the third put the 'Eers up, 30-28 heading into the fourth.

Orndorff added a layup off a Hawk turnover and a 3-pointer from just left of center to start the final quarter and stretch the Liberty lead to seven at 35-28. The junior scored 16 of her 21 points in the second half on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor.

After a free throw by South Harrison's Rose Jennalea, the Mountaineers stretched the lead to double-digits behind a pair of free throws by Crystal Toothman and a jumper by Amy Curry.

Evans led a furious Hawk comeback, hitting a leaning jumper in the lane and free throw to complete a three-point play and a long jumper from the right side to cut the lead in half with 4:28 remaining.

A pair of free throws by Stephanie Brown with 1:13 remaining brought the Hawks back within one at 42-41, but Liberty proved to be too much down the stretch, scoring nine points in the final minute to offset a pair of Evans 3-pointers.

Evans finished with 19 points to lead the Hawks.

Curry added 10 points and 12 rebounds for Liberty and Tiffany Southern had 11 boards.

Sports writer Chris Vannoy at 626-1444 or by e-mail at sports@exponent-telegram.com

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