Doherty’s Duke Carey wasn’t going to dish the ball down the stretch Thursday.
He’s an unselfish distributor -- but this wasn’t the time.
The senior point guard scored eight of his game-high 20 points in the final 90 seconds and the Spartans held on to beat Liberty 69-59 to kick off play in the 5A Colorado Springs Metro League.
Following a late run that brought the Lancers within 61-57 with 2:10 remaining, Carey shouldered the weight in the late moments. He scored eight of the game’s final 10 points, going 6 for 6 from the line and finishing his team’s only attempt from the field with a coast-to-coast lay-in.
“It’s just feel,” said Carey, who became the fifth player to lead Doherty in scoring this season. “I’m a senior, a point guard, leader, so I decided to take matters in my own hands.”
Joe Golden added 16 points and 19 rebounds and Kyrele Benford added 15 points and 10 boards for the Spartans (8-2, 1-0), who won their fifth straight game by outrebounding Liberty by a hefty double-digit margin. Josh Walker had 10 points off the bench.
“Obviously they were bigger than us at every position,” Liberty coach Ivan Chambers said. “We knew that was going to be a challenge to keep them off the boards. They hit a lot of first shots, and when they didn’t hit their first shot they were getting second and third looks sometimes.”
After beating Chatfield 70-47 late Wednesday night, Doherty led by as many as 11 in the third and was up 61-52 with 2:36 to go before the Lancers made their run.
In a span of 15 seconds, Liberty (7-3, 0-1) scored five points to pull within four. Moz Doria was fouled on a drive and converted a three-point play before Kyle Bohuslavsky got behind the defense and was found for an uncontested layup.
On this night, Carey had the hot hand in the end.
“When a person is hot on the court we try and give them the ball and let them work,” Benford said. “It depends. Some nights it’s my turn, some nights it’s Duke’s, sometimes it’s Joe's. Whoever is hot we try to give it to you.”
Doria led a balanced scoring attack for Liberty with 15 points. Kyle Bohuslavsky added 14 points, Sean Bohuslavsky 11 and Agustin Rivas 10.
The Lancers have been no stranger to games decided in the final minute this season. They’ve had four games decided by four points or less and seven by 10 or fewer.
“We’re used to playing close games,” Doria said, “tonight just wasn’t our night.”
The Spartans led 35-30 at half, using a 12-0 run in the second quarter to swing momentum. Benford scored his ninth consecutive point for Doherty to begin the burst and Golden added two easy buckets as Doherty pushed its lead to 35-27 with 2:21 left before the break.