The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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February 6, 2013

Liberty downs No. 8 Webster County

BECKLEY — The Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center has hosted many battles over the years, from pro wrestling to boxing. Wednesday night’s battle between Liberty and Webster County may have left just as many people black and blue.

Liberty (10-5) and No. 8 Webster County (11-3) did battle in a physical contest, but in the end it was the Raiders who were victorious, 75-58.

“That’s what we need. That’s what we’re going to see when we get into the sectionals. We’re going to see teams like this and physical like this,” Liberty coach Aaron Pauley said.

“It was a physical game, the refs let us play, and I like that way better than just calling ticky-tacky fouls,” Liberty’s 6-foot-10 Levi Cook said. Cook had 19 points and 14 rebounds on the night.

“I didn’t really score a lot tonight, they triple-teamed me. I played a quarterback role and helped direct passes. When someone’s hot, you’ve got to get them the ball,” Cook said.

One of those hot players was Matt Klucarich, who came off the bench with 16 points.

“That was big, coming off the bench, playing like that. He was hittin’, and whenever Levi is getting pushed around we’ve got to have our guards step up,” Pauley said.

“We just did a good job finding the open man, I got good open looks. Some nights I’m feeling it and some nights not so much. I was feeling it tonight,” Klucarich said.

Klucarich knocked down a pair of 3-pointers that helped the Raiders open up the score, and hit four big free throws down the stretch to help protect the lead and ultimately lead the Raiders to the victory.

Webster County’s Brett Morris led the Highlanders with 28 points.

Pauley feels his team is in the right place with the sectional tournament starting up soon and felt playing at the BRCCC helped his team prepare.

“We want to get a game here every year,” Pauley said. “Unfortunately we don’t play in the Big Atlantic Classic or any other game at the Armory, so we wanted to come in here and play.  You don’t want to come in here and play a team you’re going to beat by 30, but play a good team. That’s exactly what Webster County is.”

The Raiders won’t have too much time to heal their bruises. They’ll travel to Summers County tonight and will play at Webster County on Saturday.

“It’s going to be a rough one, man,” Pauley said.

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