Though it was senior night at El Mirage Dysart, Peoria Liberty came out ahead 46-35 Friday evening in a physical and aggressive contest.
Liberty was led by junior point guard Tiffany Marino and sophomore wing Courtney Christmas as they finished with 12 and 13 points, respectively. Liberty coach Odell Berry praised their performances in the win.
“(Christmas) does some great things about getting her teammates involved in the game, great defensively,” Berry said. “(Marino) is really coming into her own this year. She’s done a great job handling the point for us.”
The bright spots for Dysart came from its two senior bigs, Maritza Murillo and Jasmine Kittleson. Though Murillo had 16 points and eight rebounds while Kittleson added six points and 13 boards, Dysart couldn’t break Liberty’s half-court trap, which Berry used to negate his team’s size disadvantage.
“If we just plod up and down the court, we’re going to be in trouble,” Berry said. “Their bigs are probably as good as any bigs we’ll see all season.”
Liberty (16-5) used an 18-point first quarter to jump out to an early eight-point lead. Though Dysart was able to force Liberty into taking tougher shots the rest of the game, Dysart (21-5) turned the ball over too many times to keep the game close.
Berry was happy with his young team getting a win on the road as they head into the final stretch.
“Any time you can go on the road and win a game it’s huge,” Berry said. “For us, we just played these guys last Friday (a 56-48 Liberty win), and it was the same kind of game — rough, physical — and I think that’s the kind of game we need to play to help us get ready for the (state) tournament.”