The Liberty girls’ basketball team

Photo by Tony Kukulich

The Liberty girls’ basketball team defeated Dixon to capture third in the Stonebarger girls’ basketball tournament.

The Liberty High School girls’ basketball team jumped out to a 13-point halftime lead and largely never looked back en route to a 44-29 win over Dixon in the Stonebarger Tournament third-place game last week.

The Lions (6-10) never trailed in the contest, and jumped out to a nine-point first-quarter lead to set the tone. Lions guard Jaina Torres led Liberty with 14 points, and Megan Ramirez and Cassidy Sigsworth each scored eight.

“It was a whole-team effort; everyone worked hard,” said Liberty head coach Josh Ellcessor. “We are starting to dial in our defenses and our rotations. Offensively, we were able to pick apart their zone and were able to move the ball, share it and do a great job of execution.”  

Liberty, which blasted Armijo High (Fairfield) 43-8 to open the tournament before falling to Half Moon Bay 49-42 the following night to set up the third-place matchup, didn’t let up against the Rams.

Liberty led by eight after a quarter; extended its lead to 13 at halftime; and used a 12-8 third quarter run to open a 17-point lead.

The Rams (8-6) opened the second quarter on a 4-0 run to pull within four less than two minutes into the second quarter, but the Lions immediately answered with six unanswered points, including a deep three from Torres, to push the lead back to 10 midway through the quarter.

“We worked as a team, which is a step up for us,” said Sigsworth, who scored six of her eight points in the third quarter. “We are starting to get there, really working together.”

Dixon guard Ingra Simpson led the Rams with seven points in the loss. The Rams are 8-6 this season.

Ellcessor said after the game he felt his team is starting to gel heading into Bay Valley Athletic League play, which begins for the Lions on Jan. 14 at home against rival Heritage.

Liberty had a challenging non-league schedule that featured the likes of Mission San Jose, Dublin and Sheldon — all Liberty losses — but the Lions are hot as of late, winning two of their last three games.

 “We played a lot of difficult competition, and I am looking forward to what this team will give us in league (play),” Ellcessor said. “I can’t wait.”