Liberty basketball girls turn heads
February 6, 2014
By Christina Corrales-Toy
If you scoured the 3A state girls basketball rankings at the beginning of the season, you wouldn’t find Liberty High School mentioned on any lists.
The Patriots weren’t even considered in the same class as KingCo 3A/2A giants Juanita and Bellevue. It’s understandable — this group, with virtually the same roster, went 13-11 last year, good for fourth in the conference.
The Patriots girls basketball team is quickly turning heads across the state, though, with big wins against ranked opponents Everett, Bellevue and previously unbeaten Juanita.
“We’re the underdogs, so when we do beat those teams, it’s pretty awesome,” Liberty senior forward Ashlan Applegate said.
Applegate led Liberty scorers with 16 points in the Patriots’ Jan. 15 upset of Juanita, 61-54. She also collected 10 rebounds and recorded three steals and three assists. The Rebels were without freshman star Tea Adams in that contest.
“Every year, they are big competition and this year, they were first in the league, so it was a big deal to get that win,” Applegate said of Juanita.
It was an important win for Liberty, under first-year coach Curtis Terry. Juanita was unbeaten and ranked second in the state at the time, according to The Seattle Times. As of press time, the Patriots were still the only team in the state to beat the Rebels this year.
Liberty is an experienced team, with a roster that is largely the same as last year. There is one significant change, though, and it factors considerably in the Patriots’ quick turnaround this season, senior captain Sierra Carlson said.
“The new coach, he just totally turned our program around, and I think we just come to games with a new fire in our eyes,” she said.
Terry came to Liberty after working as an assistant at Auburn Riverside; before that, he starred on the court, playing at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He graduated from University Place’s Curtis High School in 2004.
“Last year was kind of rough, and I think with a new coach we just needed something new,” Applegate said. “I think he’s the perfect coach for our team.”
The regular season came to a close Feb. 5, and now the Patriots are looking forward to a bevy of postseason hurdles, which they hope culminates with a trip to the Tacoma Dome for the state tournament.
“I think we have a very, very good chance of doing well this year and actually showing what Liberty can do,” Carlson said.