Liberty Center 60 Tinora 50

JEWELL – As both teams hit the floor during pregame warm-ups, a packed house heard Metallica’s Enter Sandman blasted throughout the walls of the Tinora High School gym.

Normally the song is played prior to football games, ironically the Liberty Center Tigers were playing their first basketball game of the season since their football teams final four run that ended just three weeks ago.

Having just a couple of weeks of practice with a full squad, coach Greg Badenhop didn’t know what to expect from a team who was basically three weeks behind most area teams.

After the Rams jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead, most fans in attendance probably though the Tigers were going to have a long night, still shaking the rust off from the extended football season. The Tigers suited up 10+ members of that State Final Four football team.

That Enter Sandman pregame song must have clicked with the Tigers as they defensively dominated the Tinora Rams over the final 30 minutes of the 32-minute game.

The rough, tight, in your face defense of the Tigers forced unofficially 32 Tinora turnovers in the contest.

In the first quarter, one of the few LC Tigers who didn’t suit up for football, Gavin Geahlen bucketed six points as the Tigers grabbed a 14-12 lead after one quarter of action.

The second quarter brought more action, that at times resembled a football game between the Rams and Tigers. Liberty Center would force eight Ram turnovers in the quarter, 17 in the initial half.

The Tigers would head off the floor with a 29-24 lead over the Rams. Liberty Center would get most of their buckets in the paint in the first half, shooting 63%.

Another asset of the Tigers, coach Badenhop would trot out 12 players for action in the half to Tinora’s six.

The second half saw more impressive play from the Tigers, despite the lack of games, Liberty Center seemed to click on both offense and defense.

The Tigers would force 15 additions Ram turnovers in the second half.

Liberty Center would lead 45-34 after three quarters, holding the Rams leading scorer Luke Harris scoreless in the quarter, and holding Harris to 12 total points, eight under his average of 20 PPG.

The Rams would catch a bit of magic in the fourth as Aiden Rittenhouse would dominate the quarter. After the Tigers would open up a double-digit lead, the Rams tried to battle back midway through the final quarter,

Rittenhouse of Tinora would bucket a career high 21 points in the contest, scoring 15 second half points, including a stretch in the fourth quarter where he buried three 3 pointers.

Tinora would see Luke Harris and Gavin Eckert both foul out in the final four minutes, while the Tigers Aiden Hammontree would also hit the bench in the fourth as well with five fouls.

Liberty Center’s Landon Bockelman’s 6′ 3″, 260 frame, would cause havoc all night for the Rams, Bockelman would lead the Tigers with 12 points. Nine Tigers would find the scoring column for coach Badenhop in the Tiger win.

Tinora, despite being undersized, and undermanned in comparison to the visiting Tigers, battled to get the fourth quarter deficit to eight several times, but could not get over the hump, falling to the Tigers 60-50.

The Tigers points came mostly in the paint, as Liberty Center failed to hit a three pointer.

Tinora drops to 4-2 on the season. The Rams will travel to Patrick Henry on Thursday, Dec 22

The Liberty Center Tigers start their season at 1-0. The Tigers will travel to OG to take on the Titans on Tuesday, Dec 20.

A big thanks to LC Sports Live’s Mark Bly for joining me during the broadcast.

Listen back to the game with Keith and Mark from LC Sports Live


Liberty Center 14 15 16 12 60
Tinora Rams 12 12 10 16 50


Liberty Center Scoring
Bockelman 11
Chambers 10
Zeiter 8
Chappa 8
Geahlen 8
Navarre 5
Hammontree 4
Orr 2
L Kruse 2
C Kruse 0
Johnson 0

Tinora Scoring
Rittenhouse 21
Harris 12
Ackerman 10
Anders 4
Plassman 3
Homier 0
Spychala 0
Eckert 0

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