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Experience and hard work should make the Bolts’ ballers completive this season

2019-2020 Liberty High varsity boys’ basketball preview

NORTH LIBERTY– The Liberty High School varsity boys’ basketball team was tested in battle, they’ve grown, and they’re working on becoming a force to be reckoned with in the Mississippi Valley Conference (MVC). The Lightning are starting their third season of varsity competition with Head Coach Stu Ordman.
Liberty’s basketball story began in the fall of 2016 when a group of Iowa City West High freshmen donned Liberty High’s black, silver and purple and played under Coach Stan Hughes. In 2017, as sophomores and Liberty High students, they entered varsity competition under the direction of Ordman, who previously led the programs at Iowa City Regina (2014-16) and Cedar Rapids Jefferson (1998-2014). The Lightning were unaffiliated in the 2017-18 season providing an opportunity to play a wide variety of teams across different classes and conferences. Liberty joined the Mississippi Valley Conference in the fall of 2018 and put up a 5-10 record against teams such as City High, West High and Cedar Rapids’ perennial powerhouse squads.
“We have three seniors who have two full varsity seasons under their belt,” Ordman said. “Several of our juniors have seen varsity experience, as well. We expect this experience, plus the athletes’ hard work, to make us very competitive.”
Andre Brandon, Sam Funke, and Ben Houselog are the three seniors. Brandon, 6-5, leads the Lightning with 14.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game last season. He was an MVC All-Division First Team pick as a 51.8 percent field goal shooter, and 74.7 percent free throw man. Funke, at 6-2, averaged five points and four boards per game, while Houselog, also at 6-2, averaged four points and 2.5 rebounds.
Ethan O’Donnell, a 6-3 junior, averaged 10.2 points and 4.2 rebounds last season. O’Donnell was an MVC Honorable Mention as a 41.8 percent field goal shooter and shot 77.6 percent at the charity stripe. Junior Grayson Tyler, an even 6-0, averaged 5.1 points and 1.6 rebounds.
Also back are juniors Ira Hazeltine (6-0), Kelby Telander (6-3), Cody Schroeder (5-10) and Basil Aldoss (6-2). Sophomore Colin Shults (6-5), and freshman Savion Taylor (6-3) are also expected to make some noise out on the hard wood.
The Bolts went 8-13 overall last season, falling out of the postseason in a Class 4A substate quarterfinal game on the road at Davenport North. Liberty lost one senior, Ronnie Williams, to graduation.
“We will focus on attitude, effort and improvement. Resilient group!” Ordman said. Ryan Kelly, Mark Lowe (head sophomore coach), Loren Hammerand (freshmen coach) and Bruce Davis (freshmen coach) will assist Ordman this season.
The season opens Tuesday, Dec. 3, on the road, in Washington, for a non-conference match up against the Demons. The Bolts’ first home game is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7, as the WaMaC Conference’s Center Point-Urbana Stormin’ Pointers visit with a 5:15 p.m. varsity tip-off. City High’s Little Hawks visit for a girl-boy doubleheader on Friday, Dec. 20, as do the Trojans of West High on Friday, Jan. 24.

2019-2020 Liberty High Varsity Boys Basketball Schedule
Tuesday, Dec. 3 AT Washington (IA) 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 7 HOME vs. Center Point-Urbana 5:15 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 13 AT Waterloo East 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 17 HOME vs. Western Dubuque, Epworth 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 20 HOME vs. City High (M/W doubleheader) 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 3 AT Waterloo West 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 7 HOME vs. Dubuque Wahlert Catholic 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 10 HOME vs. Cedar Rapids Xavier Catholic 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 11 AT Coe College vs. Carlisle TBD
Tuesday, Jan. 14 AT Cedar Falls 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 17 AT City High (M/W doubleheader) 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 21 HOME vs. Linn-Mar 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 24 HOME vs. Iowa City West (M/W doubleheader) 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 28 AT Dubuque Hempstead 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 31 HOME vs. Waterloo East 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 4 HOME vs. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 7 AT Cedar Rapids Jefferson 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 11 AT Cedar Rapids Prairie High School 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 14 AT Iowa City West (M/W doubleheader) 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 18 HOME vs. Cedar Rapids Washington 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 20 AT Dubuque Senior 7:30 p.m.