Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press

Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press

Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press


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Dunking on the competition

What the Liberty boys’ basketball team lacks in size, they make up for in spirit.

The team this year has been playing extraordinarily well, but their success has not come easy. They have lost key scorers on the team, their average height is well-below average, and they have had to work harder than other teams to get to where they are now. 

“We have to outwork opponents and play to our strengths like quickness and the ability to shoot from the three-point line,” varsity coach Omar Parker said. 

Building on their strengths, the team has adapted a slightly different playing strategy that caters to their unique skill sets. 

“We started playing with an emphasis on fastbreak basketball last spring, and this carried through summer and into the season,” Parker said. 

Fastbreak basketball counts on a team’s speed and togetherness to gain transition points before the opponents defense is set. They utilize their quickness to move up the court and shoot swiftly rather than deliberately setting up each shot.

This strategy has been effective, and Liberty has beat Bellevue already, who is a top-10 ranked team in the state. The Patriots’ success has also been embraced by the Liberty community in a way few other basketball programs have seen. 

As Parker said, “Games at Liberty are now seen as some of the best in the conference and the state thanks to people coming and providing so much positive emotion.”

Their adapted playing style isn’t the only thing that allows this team to excel. The positive emotion that Parker references is tangible among team members as well. 

“Everyone’s open with each other, everyone is friends with each other, and that has really helped us play better,” senior and captain James Jingugi said. “Our guys are able to talk to each other well. There is no intimidation.” 

Typically on any high school sports team, there are friend groups among players and some level of competition that eats away at the core of the team. With this year’s basketball team, this is not the case. With team dinners, late-night bonding on their trip to San Diego in late December, and frequent features on junior Hansen Fan’s Instagram foodie account (@hungryhungryhanny), it is clear to see how connected this team is both on and off the court. 

“We are a lot more together as a team than we have been in previous years. Everyone just seems to like each other a lot,” senior captain Denali Hatcher said. “When people get down on themselves, I try to remind them of who they are and how they help us.” 

At the time of printing, Liberty had secured their place in the KingCo championships after successfully defeating Lake Washington on Monday, February fifth, with a final score of 73 to 62. They will be playing Bellevue on February seventh, which is sure to be an exciting game as Liberty has both won and lost to Bellevue this season. We wish them luck bringing home the conference title.

After all, “The team moves as a unit, and that makes us really hard to stop,” said Junior Makai La Madrid. 


About the Contributor
Amelia Matin
Amelia Matin, Staff Writer
Amelia Matin is a Junior at Liberty High School and a Staff Writer for the Patriot Press. She is the treasurer of Liberty Model United Nations and a Patriot Crew leader. In her free time, she can be found volunteering at and organizing city events, enthusiastically ranting about the most recent political event, listening to depressing pop music, and hanging out with friends.