Patriots prep for playoffs

February 6, 2015

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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As Liberty High School senior Cherelle Demps took the starting tipoff position in the Jan. 23 game against Interlake, she paused for a moment to reflect.

By Greg Farrar Emily Skinner, Liberty High School junior forward, puts up two of her season-best eight points during the Patriots' Jan. 23 basketball game against Interlake.

By Greg Farrar
Emily Skinner, Liberty High School junior forward, puts up two of her season-best eight points during the Patriots’ Jan. 23 basketball game against Interlake.

Minutes earlier, Demps had participated in the senior night ceremonies alongside her twin sister Danielle, and fellow teammates Sarah Bliesner, Avery Granberg and Devin Anderson.

The pomp and circumstance surrounded what would be one of the seniors’ final games in the Liberty gymnasium they’ve called home since they were freshmen.

“In the beginning of the game, it certainly did hit me,” Cherelle said.  “Looking around at these senior ladies really made me humble and grateful.”

It would end up being a career night for Cherelle, who had a season-high 20 points to go along with her six rebounds and two steals.

“During the Interlake game, I felt very confident in everything I wanted and was able to do,” Cherelle said.

The Patriots went on to beat the Saints, 63-46, that day, adding another W to the win column in what’s been an impressive season for the Liberty girls. As of press time, the Patriot season record was 13-6, with just one regular season game left to play.

Quickness, athleticism and a familiarity built through a core of players that have played together since fifth grade are among the 2015 Liberty squad’s strengths.

It’s why Cherelle said this team has a chance to do something special as the squad heads into the 2A postseason under first-year head coach Carly Fromdahl.

“We feel confident in each other and the real havoc we can put on teams when we want it bad enough,” Cherelle said. “We have a lot of things we need to improve upon, but we know if we work together as a unit we can do anything.”

The Patriots had one of their best starts in program history, but Fromdahl agreed that there’s still room to improve.

Fromdahl served as an assistant to Liberty coach Curtis Terry last year, so she’s not unfamiliar with the Patriots program. The first-year coach took over for Terry after he returned to his alma mater, the University of Nevada Las Vegas, to serve as an assistant.

She spent the season instilling toughness in the Patriots squad. Her team is built on a philosophy of hard-nosed defense, intensity and togetherness.

“Having a group of girls that are going to listen and buy into that philosophy, and have my back as much as I have their back, that’s been the key to our success so far,” she said.

It certainly helps that four of the Patriots’ starting five have played together since fifth grade. The Demps twins, Granberg and senior guard Anderson went undefeated together in both seventh and eighth grade on their Maywood Middle School team.

By Greg Farrar Cherelle Demps (3), Liberty High School senior guard, draws a blocking foul from Interlake senior Adriana Cottle during the second quarter Jan. 23. Demps had a game- and season-high 20 points, six rebounds and two steals.

By Greg Farrar
Cherelle Demps (3), Liberty High School senior guard, draws a blocking foul from Interlake senior Adriana Cottle during the second quarter Jan. 23. Demps had a game- and season-high 20 points, six rebounds and two steals.

Even with the team’s 13-6 record, Fromdahl said her girls are better than they think, they just need to believe it.

Liberty has found itself ranked among the top 2A schools through much of the season. The Seattle Times currently has the Patriots ranked eighth.

“Even though we’re 2A, I still look at us as a 3A team,” Fromdahl said. “So, really, we kind of erase that 2A title and stay within a 3A mindset. We want to beat everyone.”

The Patriots finished the regular season Feb. 4 against No. 2 ranked Bellevue. Up next, Liberty will compete in the 2A District 2/3 Tournament.

Last year, Liberty just missed advancing to the 3A state tournament at the Tacoma Dome. Now at 2A, the goal is to reach the state playoffs held at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

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