Bolivar, Mo. (For OzarksSportsZone.com) -- The Bolivar Liberators used a balanced scoring attack to defeat the visiting Camdenton Lakers in a non-conference tilt Tuesday night, 63-52. Junior point guard Coday Garrison led the Liberators with 17 points, while fellow classmate Chance Rash added 15 and senior post player Evan Roberts 13 points.
Kullen Carlock, the Lakers’ standout junior guard, scored a game-high 19 points to pace Camdenton.
“They’re a good team,” said Bolivar head coach Robby Hoegh. “They’ve been playing everybody close. They kind of grind it out and we can do that, too. I don’t know how many Carlock ended with, but it felt like he had a lot. I thought our kids did a good job of competing and forcing him into tough shots. Sometimes he makes tough shots, and sometimes he’s so physical and strong he can get into the paint and it’s hard not to foul him. He just causes a lot of problems for a defense.”
Bolivar got off to a good start and led 18-13 at the end of the first quarter, as Rash’s eight points led Bolivar in the opening period. The match-up nightmare nailed a pair of 3-pointers, which forced the Laker defense out to guard him. That opened up the lane for Roberts to go to work in the blocks, as both Rash and Roberts scored 11 first half points to pace Bolivar to a 33-27 halftime lead.
“Chance Rash can stroke it, but at the same time, if he has a mismatch he’s going in the post and he’ll finish just about any time,” said Roberts of his teammate. “When Chance catches it, he also brings six or eight eyes on him, because ‘don’t let him score’ should be the scouting report for the other team. When he gets the ball, he draws those eyes, and that opens it up for other players. When they get it into me, I try to be patient and distribute the ball out if I don’t have anything.”
In the third quarter, it was Garrison’s turn to take over, as the speedy point guard regularly got into the lane for either a shot or assist. Garrison scored 12 second-half points, including a three-pointer to open the fourth quarter, which gave the Liberators a 10-point cushion.
“Coday Garrison noticed he had a little bit of a mismatch,” said Roberts of Garrison’s second-half burst. “He was a little quicker than their guard. He’s really good about going until somebody really stops him and distributing the ball really well, and if no one stops him then going to the rack and finishing. We can count on that.”
Although Bolivar led throughout the game, Camdenton was never far behind. However, the Lakers were never quite able to get over the hump.
“They’re a good team, and they hit shots tonight when they really needed to make them,” said Camdenton head coach Kenny Ash. “They had a size advantage, and we were playing uphill all night long. Our kids kept battling and kept giving us a chance, but it’s tough to come into someone’s house in the Ozark Conference or the Central Ozark Conference and beat them. We tip our hat to them. To their credit, they did what they had to do.”
A win is a win, but Hoegh knows his Liberators were in a battle against the pesky Lakers.
“They were hitting some really tough shots,” said Hoegh. “They’re a good team, and they don’t beat themselves. Coach Ash does a really good job. They’re disciplined. They know that they want to get the ball to Carlock and everybody else does a really good job of rebounding. That 31 (Bobby Johnson) is a man on the boards. They had a couple possessions where I think they got three or four attempts which that’s not good on our part, but credit them.”
Bolivar will return to action Friday night with another non-conference match-up against the visiting Willard Tigers.
“We just have to keep our heads up, because that was a tough game and they’re good,” said Garrison of the Lakers. “We haven’t played like we can the past few games and it’s just been tough. We just have to learn from our mistakes. I had a few, and everyone had a little meltdown at one point, but we’re just going to fight through it and work for all the others.”
The Lakers will return to Ozark Conference play Friday night, as West Plains pays a visit to Camdenton.
“It’s just tough every night,” said Ash. “You just got to rebound from these losses, regroup and try to fix some of the things that we didn’t do very well. We just turned the ball over too much tonight with not a whole lot of pressure. We took some shots that were too early in the offense for us. That kind of sped the game up and gave them opportunities to get out and run. We’ll go in and tweak things and try to keep working, but our kids are resilient, they’ll keep battling.”
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