When Isaiah Hill is comfortable on the court, the game seems effortless. Good thing for Liberty is the junior guard is usually at ease.
In the opening game of the Lloyd Williams/ KSFCU Shootout at North on Wednesday afternoon, Hill led Liberty with 28 points as the Patriots beat Foothill 84-63.
Liberty will play Golden Valley in the quarterfinals at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday in the new gym at North.
“Back in town and playing the sport I love. It feels good,” Hill said. “I get to show what I’ve got in front of the hometown and we played well together.”
Liberty opened the season on the road on Nov. 28, but have been off since, and it showed early on.
Foothill (2-3) started off with a 7-2 lead, including four early points from Malik Tautau, who led the Trojans with 18.
Then Liberty and Hill came alive.
The Patriots (2-0) ended the first quarter on an 8-0 run. They extended it to 11 consecutive points on the opening possession of the second quarter on a 3-pointer by Kadar Waller, who finished the evening with 16 points.
“It’s always fun to finally play in town and in front of our fans,” Liberty coach Jeff Hicks said. “We were off for a week and a half, so it showed in the first half. But we got it rolling. Excited for the next few days.”
Hill scored 13 in the second quarter, as the Patriots went into halftime with a 52-33 lead.
“I came out a little slow, we all did,” Hill said. “(Foothill) came out really fast … I am just trying to perfect my craft right now. I’m trying to go to a high Division I school and right now, I’m on a roll.”
Liberty’s newest player, Javier Gallardo, might have made the biggest impact for the Patriots.
The 6-foot-7, 280-pound senior — who transferred from Chavez in November — scored 15 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and had seven blocks.
“Not only him setting screens, but having him in the paint defensively to block shots,” Hicks said. “It’s cleaning up a lot of for us and helping us tremendously.”
With another addition in Kameron Burris-Garofalo to go along with Hill, Waller, Gallardo and the guard combination of Jackson Campbell and Garrett Pavletich, and there is a lot of promise early on for Liberty.
“It’s yet to be seen. We have a lot to work on,” Hicks said. “Hopefully by February, we will be playing our best basketball. We’ll see.”
Mioses Garduno came off the bench to score 16 points for Foothill.
Liberty led by 31 points midway through the fourth quarter before the starters took the bench.
“I felt I was really comfortable,” Hill said. “My team fed me the ball and we all got ours. We played well together and got the win.”