Liberty Charter seizes San Diego Section Division 5 title

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Since opening its doors in 2008, numerous students at Lemon Grove’s Liberty Charter High School have earned college scholarships for academics. Could ones for athletics be around the corner?

On March 6, Liberty Charter captured its first CIF sports championship in any sport, whipping Foothills Christian in an all-East County final for the San Diego Section Division 5 girls’ basketball crown. The Lady Lions poured in 29 points in the second quarter, racing past the Knights, 64-39, at Sage Creek High gymnasium.

Since opening its doors in 2008, numerous students at Lemon Grove’s Liberty Charter High School have earned college scholarships for academics. Could ones for athletics be around the corner?

On March 6, Liberty Charter captured its first CIF sports championship in any sport, whipping Foothills Christian in an all-East County final for the San Diego Section Division 5 girls’ basketball crown. The Lady Lions poured in 29 points in the second quarter, racing past the Knights, 64-39, at Sage Creek High gymnasium.

Among the two ball clubs, there were only two seniors on the court—Liberty’s Savannah Whitehurst and Katie Collins—who led the Lions to an easy triumph after posting 25 of the team’s 29 points in the breakout quarter.

Whitehurst powered inside for game-highs of 25 points and 19 rebounds, while Collins nailed three straight jumpers from the arc in the big second quarter, when she registered 15 of her 23 points.

“It’s a tremendous feeling to know we made history for our school,” said Whitehurst. “The team worked extremely hard all season, so we got better and better.”

Foothills Christian gave Whitehurst extra attention on defense, leaving the contest even at 9-all through the first quarter. But when Collins stepped back from the high post and starting draining triples, the entire court opened for the Lions.

“Once all of us made some shots, we just kept on going,” said Collins. “We played with great determination.”

Former Valhalla High head coach Al Silva is in his first season directing the Lady Lions, assisted by his daughter, former Norsemen standout Alexis Silva. They guided Liberty Charter (19-7) to its third consecutive Frontier League title with an unbeaten record, then defeated three straight opponents in the playoffs.

The victory was more than just a two-person game. Sarah Bennett; added 11 points,, with six different Lions registering assists.

For Foothills Christian (16-6), Christina Baksa topped the Knights in scoring. The freshman guard finished with 13 points, scoring in all four periods.

The Knights were runners-up in the Sunset League to Ocean View Christian, a larger school which competed in the Division 4 tournament.

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