Patriots’ season comes to a close after regionals loss

March 5, 2015

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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Liberty High School senior Cherelle Demps’ plan of attack appeared simple in the team’s Feb. 28 regional playoff game.

By Greg Farrar Cherelle Demps, Liberty High School senior guard, is fouled by East Valley’s Hannah Burland (4) after stealing the ball from Elle Burland (12), as Jordan Phelan (5) follows the play, during the third quarter of their Feb. 28 Hardwood Classic 2A regional round basketball game.

By Greg Farrar
Cherelle Demps, Liberty High School senior guard, is fouled by East Valley’s Hannah Burland (4) after stealing the ball from Elle Burland (12), as Jordan Phelan (5) follows the play, during the third quarter of their Feb. 28 Hardwood Classic 2A regional round basketball game.

Drive toward the basket, draw the foul and sink the free throws. She executed that sequence over and over, while opponent East Valley struggled to put a stop to it.

Demps, in what would be her final high-school basketball game, erupted for a game-high 26 points, 16 of which came at the free-throw line.

It wouldn’t be enough, however, as the Patriots fell to the team from Spokane, 71-50, in the loser-out playoff game at Renton High School. Liberty was just one win away from qualifying for the 2A state championship at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

“It wasn’t our best performance at the end of the day, and I think they all felt that,” Liberty coach Carly Fromdahl said. “We don’t have room for that in the lineup at this point in the season. Can’t have games where we drop the ball, or we aren’t on top of our Ps and Qs.”

Liberty trailed 16-10 after the first quarter, but crawled back in the second to actually go into halftime with a 29-28 lead.

It was an early third-quarter, 12-point unanswered East Valley run that eventually sunk the Patriots, though.

Demps was the Patriots’ clear star of the game, shooting 16-of-19 at the line, and grabbing six rebounds, two assists and three steals.

“She did exactly what we needed her to do,” Fromdahl said. “It’s tough when you don’t have the supporting cast there giving it what she’s giving it, but I mean what a great player, so athletic.”

East Valley had three double-digit scorers, while Demps was the only Patriot that found the net more than nine times.

Demps’ sister, Danielle, had the next-highest scoring total at seven, followed by sophomore Samantha Kelderman, who had six. Sarah Bliesner, Avery Granberg and Sydney Argosino each added three points. Devin Anderson rounded out the scoring with two points.

By Greg Farrar Sitting sadly on the bench after the Demps sisters fouled out in the closing moments of Liberty’s 50-71 loss to East Valley are (from left) senior Cherelle Demps, junior Alissa Campbell, senior Danielle Demps, junior Savannah Metzger and sophomore Kylie Kirksey.

By Greg Farrar
Sitting sadly on the bench after the Demps sisters fouled out in the closing moments of Liberty’s 50-71 loss to East Valley are (from left) senior Cherelle Demps, junior Alissa Campbell, senior Danielle Demps, junior Savannah Metzger and sophomore Kylie Kirksey.

Liberty came into regionals as the District 2/3 No. 1 seed, after the Patriots won their district tournament.

“Things just started clicking,” Fromdahl said of the Liberty postseason. “Everything that we had been teaching them started molding together toward the end of the season.”

The Patriots opened eyes across the state with a 62-52 win over No. 3 ranked White River at districts. Cherelle Demps starred in that game, too, collecting 30 points.

“She’s really worked her tail off all season, watching film to get better,” Fromdahl said of Cherelle. “And I think the stats prove that she’s grown from the beginning of the season to now when we needed her the most.”

The team says goodbye to five seniors — Danielle and Cherelle Demps, Granberg, Bliesner and Devin Anderson — but first-year coach Fromdahl said the future is bright for Liberty basketball.

“We’re only going to get better from here,” she said. “We have a pretty deep bench, so letting them witness those five seniors and the impressions they’ve left on my underclassmen, I’m excited for the next season to see where they’ll grow from here.”

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