Shar’Da Williamson leads the Leopards to victory with double-double performance


Leopards improve to 6-1 on the season with the win over Columbiana

COLUMBIANA, OHIO (WKBN) – Led by senior forward Shar’Da Williamson’s 28-points and 15 rebounds, the Liberty Leopards improved to 6-1 on the season with a convincing 67-46 win over the Columbiana Clippers.  The Clippers dropped to 3-3 on the season.

“Rebounds are a big thing for me,” Leopards coach Deidre Watson stated.  “I’m never happy, I want us to have all the rebounds.  We talk a lot about that.”

“It’s a big part of my game,” Williamson added.  “I like to have double-doubles and I average double-doubles.  I’m one of the leading rebounders, my job is to rebound and that’s what I do.”

The game was a re-match of the Division III Struthers tournament game from last year in which the Leopards won a 2-point, 61-59 battle. That win helped propel the Leopards to the District Finals.

“We knew they would come in ready to play.  They (Columbiana) were probably not happy with us winning, so we just had to come out and play our game,” Coach Watson said.  “I told them you can’t expect them to just lie down, you have to play hard.”

In addition to Williamson’s effort, Cianna Smith would score 19 points with 8 rebounds, while Demi Watson added 18 points.  Delia Watson would chip in with 6 rebounds on the night.

The Leopards jumped out to a 9-0 lead before the Clippers made a charge to close the first quarter trailing 17-12.  The Leopards pushed their advantage to a 10-point lead at 22-12 when Demi Watson hit a three at the 7:06 mark of the second quarter.

But the Clippers would battle back to make it 24-20 late in the stanza.  However, the Leopards closed with Williamson connecting on one of two treys on the night just before the buzzer to give the Leopards a 29-20 advantage at the intermission.

The Leopards would once again jump on the Clippers as they started the second half racing out to a 14-4 run courtesy of a basket by Smith at the 3:06 mark of the quarter.  That gave the Leopards a 19-point, 43-24 lead.  The Leopards would close the third holding a 45-32 advantage.

The Clippers would make one last desperate charge at the Leopards in the fourth frame as they started the quarter with an 8-2 run to close the deficit to 47-40 following a Kayla Muslovski three at the 5:21 mark of the period.  But the Leopards would retake the momentum by outscoring the Clippers 17-6 in the final five minutes of the contest.

The Clippers were led by Muslovski with 28 points including 4 three-pointers, along with Grace Hammond with 14 points and two treys.  Grace Witmer and Tori Long would each haul down 6 rebounds to pace the Clippers on the boards.

“We have some people in some situations that they have never been in before because of graduation,” Clippers coach David Crimson remarked.  “But they have to step up.  We have Kayla (Muslovski) and they are going to try to take her out of the game so then someone else has to step up and be able to take that pressure off and bury some shots.  So until we learn that and some people embrace that, some games are going to be a struggle.  But I was proud of them and I think it was a real learning curve for us.”

The Leopards will return to league action on Wednesday when they host the Newton Falls Tigers.  The Clippers will also play a league contest when they entertain the United Eagles on Thursday night.

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