Liberty’s girls basketball roster boasts five players standing 6-feet or taller.
It’s no surprise the Patriots’ offensive game plan is to go inside.
The Patriots scored 30 points in the paint Friday, including a 6-for-6 effort from 6-3 center Jazmin O’Bannon, as Liberty easily turned aside visiting Coronado 58-35 in an early Southeast League showdown.
“Our inside game was certainly the key,” said Liberty coach Rich Santigate. “It was a sentimental game for me, because I coached some of those Coronado players in middle school. Those kids have lots of potential, and they play hard.”
While Liberty (7-4, 2-0 Southeast) was finding its range inside, Coronado struggled with its plan — firing long-range jumpers, many from behind the 3-point arc.
Coronado (6-2, 1-1) began 5-for-24 from the field, including 1-for-8 on 3-pointers, and trailed 33-14 at the half. The Cougars were held without a field goal for a stretch of nearly 7½ minutes.
Coronado did show a brief moment of fire in the third quarter, as Kayla Watterson, Gabi Turturro and Sofie Cruz all made buckets to pull the Cougars to within 34-20. However, Coronado made just two free throws in the final 4:56 of the period, and Liberty enjoyed a 39-22 cushion heading into the final period.
Kealy Brown led Liberty with 13 points and nine steals. O’Bannon, who left the game in the second quarter after falling to the floor while attempting to catch a pass, finished with 12 points, and Sydney Clark scored 10.
Turturro and Cruz each scored nine points to lead Coronado.