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Liberty boys basketball | Season preview
If there’s one thing Liberty boys basketball coach Joe Fithian knows for sure about his Patriots, it’s that they will play hard on defense.
“They’re gritty,” Fithian said. “We don’t give anybody a steady diet of anything and the guys are all really in tune to what we’re trying to do.”
Fithian said he lays out the team’s defensive game plan, tailored to stifle the opposing team’s strengths, before each contest and more often than not, the Patriots are successful.
The drawback for the Patriots comes on the offensive end, where the team will struggle to score points at times.
“We’re going to go as far as our offense carries us,” Fithian said. “That’s our Achilles Heel. We just can’t put the ball in the hole consistently.”
Fithian said good teams have a player who can take over the game when needed and score at any time. The difficulty for Liberty is that their best offensive player, Tynan Gilmore, is also the team’s point guard. So Gilmore has to balance distributing the ball to the rest of the team, while also getting his own shots. Another factor was Kellen Birdsall’s injury. Fithian was expecting Birdsall to be one of the team’s outside shooting options, but Birdsall broke his leg the week before the season started.
Gilmore is leading the team with 14 points per game this season. Fithian said Robbie Thomas has improved greatly on the offensive end since last year. Thomas is second on the team at 9.2 points per game.
Other key players are Jordan West, Ben Wessell and B.J. Demps.
Liberty currently stands at 2-3 overall and 1-2 in the KingCo 3A/2A, good for fourth place in the league.