Breeze Bartle scores 16 to push Falcons into the OSAA state playoffs' first round.

PAMPLIN MEDIA PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Liberty sophomore Clara Robbins goes up to score during her team's 67-41 win over Lake Oswego at Liberty High School in the Class 6A Play-In round on Saturday.The Liberty girls basketball team was determined to leave Lake Oswego behind.

The Falcons had just dropped a 24-point second quarter on the Lakers and took a big lead into halftime of their Class 6A state Play-In game at Liberty High School on Saturday.

The Lakers were determined, too, however, and battled back within eight points early in the fourth quarter.

But when Liberty stepped on the accelerator again, Lake Oswego had no answer. The Falcons responded with a 16-1 run over the next 3 minutes, 34 seconds and sped away to post a 67-41 victory. In the process, Liberty secured a berth in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs, playing at No. 5 North Medford on Tuesday.

"We were very comfortable, very," said Liberty sophomore post Breeze Bartle, who led all scorers with 16 points after making 4 of 10 shots from the field and 8 of 10 free throws. "We knew that they had a few good shooters and a really good rebounder because we scouted them."

"We usually have a pretty strong press and sometimes teams have trouble getting up the floor," added Liberty freshman guard Livia Knapp, who added eight points on 2 of 6 shooting from the field and 3 of 6 free throws. "I think that's what gave us a lot of energy today."

With the win, the 28th-ranked Falcons snapped a three-game losing streak and lifted their season record to 10-15 after a sixth-place finish in the Metro League. No. 34 Lake Oswego lost for the sixth straight time and ended its season at 7-18 after an eighth-place finish in the Three Rivers League.

"They're all over the place on defense and I feel like our team, we were expecting it, but when they defended us, we kind of panicked when we had the ball and we weren't being strong with the ball," said Lake Oswego freshman guard Janie Ruttert, who finished with four points and seven rebounds in the loss.

"We knew they were a scrappy team and they would fight on defense the whole afternoon, but we didn't adjust and use our ball fakes," said Laker junior Katy Gilbert, who led her team with 11 points on 3 of 13 shooting from the field (including two "threes") and a 3 of 5 day at the foul line. "We talked about it, but nothing really changed."

In the first quarter, Liberty sophomore Clara Robbins took a Knapp pass and hit a jump hook to give her team a 6-2 lead late in the frame. Gilbert drilled a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to bring the Lakers back within 6-5, but Bartle added the second of her two hoops in the quarter to give the Falcons an 8-5 edge after one period.

The Lakers were still down just 10-7 when sophomore Megan Woolard hit a jumpshot from the top of the key 58 seconds into the second period, but the Falcons took control there. Over a span of 5:21 after Woolard's basket, Liberty ripped off a 22-6 run that expanded its lead to a commanding 32-13 edge when Robbins made a steal and scored on the fast break with 49 seconds left in the half.

PAMPLIN MEDIA PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Liberty freshman Taylin Smith drives during her team's 67-41 win over Lake Oswego at Liberty High School in the Class 6A Play-In round on Saturday.Robbins racked up six points in that run, Bartle added another five and sophomore Talia Kahakai Wyatt four for the Falcons, while the Lakers went 5 of 15 in the period, turned the ball over seven times and trailed 32-16 at halftime.

As tough as the second quarter had been for the Lakers — they got outscored 24-11 in the frame — they kept fighting and cut their deficit to 38-28 in the third on a Ruttert pull-up with 32 seconds remaining in the period.

Lake Oswego carried its momentum into the fourth quarter, too, opening with a Gilbert 3-pointer, adding two Gilbert foul shots after a Liberty technical foul, and closing within 43-35 when freshman Kilyn Dawkins took a Woolard pass and scored inside with 5:51 left in the contest.

But the Falcons answered big-time, outscoring the Lakers 16-1 over the next 3:34 to extend their lead to 59-36 with 2:17 left to play. Knapp hit a 3-pointer, added two fouls shots and scored five points in that stretch, Bartle knocked down four straight foul shots and junior Maliah Jobe added a "three" to leave the Lakers behind.

"All I knew was what was going through my head was 'I really don't want the season to end right now,'" Knapp said.

"I was a bit nervous, but (Kahakai Wyatt) got a few takeaways and … after that, I felt confident about the team and we pulled away," Bartle said.

For their part, the Lakers knew they'd had a chance but just hadn't made enough plays to win.

"I think we were feeling really good at the end of the third and start of the fourth quarter, but then I think we just had some turnovers, they made some nice plays and mentally, we just weren't there today," Gilbert added.

For the game, Bartle added 14 rebounds and four blocks, Kahakai Wyatt went 6 of 13 from the field (including two 3-pointers) and scored 14 points, and Robbins went 5 of 11 from the floor, 2 of 2 from the line and added 11 rebounds.

For the Lakers — who committed 27 turnovers — junior Taylor Anders, Woolard and senior Nyame Johnson added five points each in the loss, while Dawkins had four points and 12 rebounds.

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