O'Donnell Carries Liberty High Past City High in Overtime

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Pat Harty

Your Prep Sports

IOWA CITY – Lightning struck in overtime at City High on Friday.

The Liberty boys basketball team outscored City High 13-2 in overtime and escaped with a 61-50 victory on the road.

Sophomore forward Ethan O'Donnell scored the first five points in overtime for Liberty and finished with a game-high 20 points, which is five points above his per-game average.

His team needed the 6-foot-4 O’Donnell to play big on Friday because junior forward Andre Brandon was mired in foul trouble throughout the game. The 6-5 Brandon fouled out of the game on a charging call with 26.3 seconds remaining in regulation.

So with Brandon not available in overtime, O’Donnell became the go-to player on offense and he delivered in impressive fashion

“Ethan has matured incredibly,” said Liberty coach Stu Ordman. “I thought his play tonight was terrific. It was inspirational. He hardly came out. I don’t even know if he did come out.

“And at the end, we decided lets go to him. Let’s get him a lot of looks and we were fortunate this time. I have a lot of confidence in our guys and they’re really unselfish and they’ll give it to the teammate who is hot.”

O’Donnell played the entire 32 minutes of regulation and all four minutes of overtime. He made 7-of-16 shots from the field and all five of his free throw attempts in the second half and in overtime as the Lightning improved to 4-1 in their second season as a varsity program.

Friday’s victory was also Liberty’s first against an Iowa City school.

“We’ve just been playing well as a team,” O’Donnell said. “We’ve been moving the ball and playing solid defense. Moving the ball on offense, that’s the key, just playing together as a team.”

City High had a chance to win in regulation, but failed to get a shot off before time expired, forcing the game into overtime with the score tied at 48.

Liberty had five players who scored at least seven points, including Brandon, who finished with eight points.

Brandon was called for a technical foul early in the third quarter and that forced him to the bench with four fouls.

He returned to the game early in the fourth quarter and made a key basket before fouling out on a charging call that could have gone either way.

“I think it’s a night where he matured quite a bit,” Ordman said of Brandon. “I think this is one where I’m counting on him growing up. I like his behavior on the bench when I sat him out for a long time and let him get refocused.

“And also his demeanor on the bench after he fouled out on a controversial foul was terrific. Andre has so much potential and I’m very confident he’ll take this as a great learning experience.”

City High made 10 3-point baskets in the game and led 39-35 after three quarters.

Senior Carter Westlake led City High with 16 points and with four 3-point baskets, including one that gave the Little Hawks a 42-38 advantage early in the fourth quarter.“

“I thought City had some really good ball movement and we had to do some things differently against then then we do against some other teams. It seemed like it took us three-and-a-half quarters to understand what we needed to do,” Ordman said. “And then I thought we showed poise and knocked down free throws.”

O’Donnell said his approach on offense didn’t change with Brandon on the bench for much of Friday’s game. O’Donnell wanted to stay aggressive, but without forcing things on offense.

“It was just the flow of the game,” McDonnell said. “We were all just trying to get each other good looks and hitting shots. We did that down the stretch. We did a good job of hitting our open shots and kicking and moving the ball.”

The Lightning helped their cause by making 17-of-21 free throws, while City High was just 4-of-6 from the free throw line and had two lane violations on free throws.

City High point guard Antonio Turner also struggled with foul problems. He picked up his third foul with 7:43 left in the second quarter and then spent the rest of the quarter on the bench.

Turner still finished with 12 points as City High fell to 2-3 on the season.

LIBERTY (61) – Ethan O’Donnell 7-16 5-7 20, Andre Brandon 4-8 0-0 8, Grayson Tyler 2-7 5-5 12, Ben Houselog 2-7 4-4 9, Sam Funke 3-5 1-1 7, Bowen Gryp 0-5 2-4 2, Ira Hazeltine 0-0 0-0 0, Kelby Telander 1-1 0-0 3, Corey Baldwin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-50 17-21 61.

CITY HIGH (50) – Antonio Turner 4-8 2-2 12, Luke Young 2-4 1-2 7, Ry Threlkeld-Wiegand 3-11 0-1 8, Liam McComas 0-0 0-0 0, Carter Westlake 6-17 0-0 16, Jason Allen 0-2 0-0 0, DeAngelo McNeil 3-4 1-1 7, Wyatt Streeby 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-54 4-6 50.

Liberty High  15  11   9  13  11 –  61

City High          8  14  17  9    2  –  50

3-point goals – Liberty 4 (O’Donnell, Tyler, Houselog, Telander); City High 10 (Westlake 4, Turner 2, Young 2, Threlkeld-Wiegand 2). Fouls – Liberty 11, City High 19. Fouled out – Brandon, McComas.