Liberty girls grab decisive 66-39 win over Hazen

January 6, 2012

By Christina Lords

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Hazen senior Airashay Rogers contributes 19 points

As the Liberty High School girls basketball team squared off against Hazen High School, they knew they had a lot riding on their shoulders.

After beating out Sumner and Newport, as well as conference foes Sammamish, Bellevue, Juanita and Mercer Island, they remained undefeated.

The Patriots kept that streak alive on their home court with a decisive 66-39 victory over the Highlanders on Dec. 22.

Adele Payant (left), Liberty High School sophomore center, and Hazen High School sophomore forward Gabby Brower chase after a rebound late during the third quarter Dec. 22. By Greg Farrar

“We’ve been able to finish games off when they’re close, and we’ve had some close ones,” Liberty coach Randy Leifer said. “We shoot the ball well, and we’ve got three returning starters this year that give us an inside presence.”

The Patriots entered the game strong, scoring 23 points in the first quarter, and held the Highlanders to just 10 points in the first half.

“We’ve got a nice mix between our four seniors and our young players,” he said. “We’ve just got to keep improving every game.”

Liberty’s Sierra Carlson, a sophomore guard, came out hot in the first half of the game, knocking down 14 points before halftime. She would end the game with a season-best of 24 points.

She’s averaging 9.1 points, 2.3 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game.

Liberty senior center and co-captain Aspen Winegar, averaging 14.4 points, 2.3 assists and 5.5 rebounds per contest, contributed 10 points in the Hazen match up.

“We’re really young, but I think we’re really deep,” Leifer said. “It helps that we have a lot of people that can play.”

After riding high the first seven games of the season, the Patriots would go on to lose its next nonconference game against Jackson High School, 51-35, on Dec. 28, bringing their overall record to 7-1. The team remains 4-0 in KingCo 3A conference play.

The Highlanders, who have had a sluggish start to the season, have a 3-4 overall record and are 2-2 in conference play.

Hazen won its first game against Ingraham on Nov. 29, but dropped its next two contests against Lindbergh and Kennedy Catholic on Dec. 7 and Dec. 9, respectively. It then nabbed two wins — against Evergreen on Dec. 14 and against Lakeside Dec. 21.

Airashay Rogers, a senior guard who has signed on to join the University of Washington Husky womens team next year, kept the Highlanders alive by contributing 19 of Hazen’s 39 total points against the Patriots.

She boasts averages this season that include 21 points, four assists, 10.2 rebounds and 7.4 steals per game.

Hazen junior guard Cecillee Fernandez scored six points against the Patriots, while junior forward Anastasia Pallis contributed five points.

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