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Cedarcrest boys stumble on way to playoffs.
Cinderella's glass slipper cracked on the way to the ball as the
Cedarcrest Red Wolves lost their only chance to advance to the Kingco 3A league
tournament by dropping a heartbreaker to the Liberty Patriots last Tuesday,
Liberty won the battle of 1-12 teams for fourth place in the
Valley Division when Brian Simon scored the go-ahead basket with 11 seconds
left on the game clock. The Red Wolves finished their first campaign
under Coach Ray LaBate with an overall record of 1-20. Notably, the
team's only Kingco win in the past two seasons was over Liberty two weeks ago.
The Red Wolves led by as many as 10 points midway through
the fourth quarter and held a 57-51 advantage when senior forward
Michael Smith fouled out with 1:26 left on the clock. Liberty rallied with two
consecutive three-pointers and the eight foot bank shot by Simon.
"They made some tough shots down the stretch," said Coach
LaBate. "They (Liberty) got fired up when Smitty left the game and we dealt
with the situation like the young team we are. Turning the ball over a couple
of times didn't help either."
Smith finished the final game of his high school career with
team-high 21 points. The 6-4 senior wrapped up the season with a scoring average
of 15.2 points per game.
LaBate said his young players were in the gym the next day ready
to begin practice for next season. Teams are allowed to practice until a
state champion is crowned later this month.
Liberty Coach Jon Kinsley said the absence of Smith helped open up
some shots for his team. The Patriots went on to lose to the Bellevue
Wolverines in the second round game of the conference tournament on Friday night
at Bellevue Community College.