Sports

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,

62-59.

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.

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