LIBERTY — After going 13-11 this past season, the North Penn-Liberty basketball team will look to take the next step in the 2020 season. Liberty returns three starters to their lineup as well as adding a few new pieces this offseason.
The Liberty team lost seven seniors this year, and will have a much younger core of players to rely on this season, with only four seniors on the roster, and three of them not having much playing time last season.
Liberty took on Northern Potter in a preseason scrimmage at home, and defensively looked like a team that will be able to give teams problems on that end of the court.
The Mounties basketball team consists of a combination of speed and length that will cause headaches for other teams around the league, and looked extremely confident on the defensive side of the ball jumping passing lanes and turning those steals into transition buckets.
Liberty is returning a number of players this season including point guard Noah Spencer, Brandon Thompson and senior leading scorer from last year Duncan Zeafla to the starting lineup. They also added Sam Shedden who is a first year player as a senior, and has earned a starting role for Liberty.
Throughout the scrimmage, they were able to use their length and team defense to create multiple opportunities for themselves to get easy baskets on the offensive end.
Coach Brian Litzelman expressed how in the first week of practice, the facet of the game he wanted to stress was pressure defense. “That’s what we talked about this whole first week, defense, it all starts at that end of the floor. It finally looks like they are starting to understand,” Litzelman said on his approach in the first action for the Liberty team this season.
The Liberty team will look to implement pressure defense on teams this season, and try to rely on that strength throughout.
Offensively, Liberty relied mostly on their transition game to manufacture points, and it seems to be a reflection on the team mentality for the season. “We haven’t introduced much of the offense at all really, 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there, we are spending a ton of time on the defensive end, trying to get them to buy into the defense,” Litzelman said.
The player who is expected to make a big impact this season is emerging point guard Noah Spencer, who has already been a two-year starter for Liberty but will look to take a step forward this season.
Spencer played excellently on both ends of the floor, and was not only a threat driving to the basket, but also made some big three pointers. His passing and on-ball defense were both strong, and in a small sample size and could be a standout two-way guard for Liberty this season.
Spencer’s development is key to what Liberty is trying to accomplish this season. “He should be a team leader,” Litezelman said. “He can lead us in points and assists, he’s just an all around good athlete.”
With Spencer growing into a leader for the Liberty team, as well as returning their leading scorer in Zeafla, the Mounties will look to be a dynamic and quick team that is dedicated to the defensive end of the floor.
Liberty will look to take another step in the right direction after steadily improving each season win total since 2015 where they only came away with three wins.
The North Penn Liberty basketball team will look to get their season started off right when they open up play on Friday, Dec. 6 in the Kyle Lynn Memorial Tournament in South Williamsport.