Hempstead snaps Liberty's 4-game win streak

Girls' basketball: Lightning score 5 first-half points in 55-32 loss

The Liberty High School Lightning logo.  (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
The Liberty High School Lightning logo. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

NORTH LIBERTY — Yeah, it was a step backward.

It was also a lesson.

“I think we learned tonight that we can’t take anything for granted,” Iowa City Liberty Coach Jaime Brandt said. “If we think we can lollygag around for the first half, we’re wrong. We’ve got to play four quarters of basketball.”

Liberty managed just five first-half points and suffered a 55-32 non-conference girls’ basketball loss to Dubuque Hempstead on Tuesday at Liberty High School.

The defeat snapped a four-game win streak for the Lightning (5-6), in their first year of existence.

“We saw a spurt of what we can do, but it wasn’t enough,” Brandt said.

The Lightning defended reasonably well and went to the boards hard (owning a 40-36 rebounding advantage), but that couldn’t neutralize 27 turnovers and 25-percent shooting.

Liberty fell to 0-3 against teams in the Mississippi Valley Conference, which it will call home next year. But let’s be fair; this is a freshman/sophomore squad battling against veterans.

“It’s exciting to be part of something new,” said sophomore Cora Saunders, who scored 15 of her game-high 17 points in the second half. “I wasn’t sure how we were going to do. We knew we would win some games, but we knew it would be tough.”

Hempstead (8-3) held the Lightning scoreless for about 11 1/2 minutes in the first half in an 11-0 surge that put them in command, 15-3.

It was 17-5 at halftime, then 36-12 late in the third quarter when the Lightning made their only run of the game.

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Saunders closed the third period with a 3-pointer, then Megan Davis opened the fourth with another. Isabel Smith’s three-point play capped a 12-2 run as the Lightning closed within 38-24.

But the Mustangs scored the next eight points to regain control.

Madison Fleckenstein paced the winners with 16 points, and Riley Kay added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Smith posted five points and nine rebounds for Liberty, which hosts Clear Creek Amana on Saturday.

DUBUQUE HEMPSTEAD 55, IOWA CITY LIBERTY 32

At North Liberty

DUBUQUE HEMPSTEAD (55): Mackenzie Paulsen 0-5 0-0 0, Kaylie Springer 0-5 2-3 2, Morgan Krug 1-8 5-6 7, Madison Fleckenstein 5-10 3-3 16, Riley Kay 6-11 3-3 15, Corinne Meier 3-7 0-2 6, Katie Schaul 0-0 1-2 1, Riley Bleymeyer 2-3 2-4 6, Morgan Hearden 0-3 2-2 2, Jenna Springer 0-0 0-0 0, Kayla LaPage 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-52 18-25 55.

IOWA CITY LIBERTY (32): Sam McPherson 1-5 2-4 4, Jenna Saunders 0-4 0-2 0, Brylee Klosterman 1-3 0-1 2, Cora Saunders 7-24 0-0 17, Kayli Baldwin 0-2 0-0 0, Isabel Smith 1-3 3-3 5, Megan Davis 1-2 0-0 3, Cecily Johnston 0-0 1-2 1, Neshy Byrd 0-0 0-0 0, Abby Henderson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 11-44 6-12 32.

Halftime: Hempstead 17, Liberty 5. 3-point goals: Hempstead 3-20 (Paulsen 0-2, K.Springer 0-3, Krug 0-4, Fleckenstein 3-7, Meier 0-1, Hearden 0-3), Liberty 4-15 (McPherson 0-2, J.Saunders 0-2, C.Saunders 3-10, Davis 1-1). Team fouls: Hempstead 17, Liberty 22. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Hempstead 36 (Kay 10), Liberty 40 (Smith 9). Assists: Hempstead 9 (K.Springer, Fleckenstein 2), Liberty 4 (McPherson 2). Steals: Hempstead 18 (Krug 5), Liberty 7 (McPherson, J.Saunders, C.Saunders 2). Turnovers: Hempstead 12, Liberty 27.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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