Liberty North senior Jake Hanson considers himself a deadly shooter. With that, though, he realizes, comes a few cold spells every now and then.
Hanson was about as cold as he can remember for 24 minutes Friday night.
He return to form for the final 8, and he couldn’t have picked a much better time.
Hanson buried three fourth-quarter threes and scored a game-high 15 points, leading Liberty North to a 50-40 win against Park Hill South in the championship game of the inaugural Liberty North Invitational.
“Couldn’t hit anything,” Hanson said. “I think fatigue had a little bit to do with that, playing our third game this week.
“Fourth quarter, though, I just wanted to keep shooting.”
His teammate, senior Nadhir Daughtery, started the streak of long-distance shots for Liberty North, which improved to 4-2.
Running a set play, Daughtery, who scored 11 points, nailed a three-pointer at the third quarter buzzer to pull the Eagles within two of Park Hill South, which led by nine at halftime.
Hanson took over from there. He hit three consecutive three-pointers — compiling a 9-0 on his own to start the fourth quarter — handing Liberty North its first lead of the night. Hanson scored 13 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles never relinquished their first lead, extending their advantage to 10 points midway through the quarter and holding Park Hill South to only 16 points in the second half.
“It shows a great resilience and mature for our team to come back,” Liberty North coach Chris McCabe said. “We couldn’t hit anything, but we pride ourselves on defense and rebounding, and that kept us in the game.”
In fairness, Park Hill South didn’t fare much better. The Panthers missed all six three-point attempts after halftime.
Junior forward Robert Lane led the team with 12 points, but he was flustered down low by Liberty North’s zone, which remained tight, daring Park Hill South to shoot the ball from the outside.
Liberty North began the season 0-2, but it has rattled off four straight wins to gain some momentum after last season’s appearance in the Class 4 final four.
“This was huge for us,” McCabe said. “We didn’t play like we wanted to start the year, but there’s not a group of guys that work harder than the guys in that locker room. They deserve this.”