By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
JJ Lewis may have put the exclamation point on Liberals 59-41 homecoming win over Great Bend Saturday with a dunk in the final seconds, but the night belonged to William Ross. He wasn’t crowned Homecoming King, but he ruled on the court, scoring 17 points and putting the ball in the right Redskin hands to push Liberal to the win.
Ross helped break the Great Bend zone with a three-pointer in the first quarter and hit another in the third.
Blake Stout also had a hot hand form the perimeter. Stout nailed three three-point shots and scored 15 points.
The Panthers tied the game 8-8 early in the second quarter, but the Redskins went on a 19-6 run to shoot out to a 27-14 lead early in the second half.
Liberal led by as many as 18 in the fourth before the Panthers trimmed the lead to 12. The Redskins closed out the game on a 6-0 run for the win.
“The guys came out focused and ready to play,” Liberal coach Drew Gruver said. “It was a good team effort, no one tried to do too much on their own.”
Ross may have tried to shoulder too much of the burden in other games, but Saturday, the senior point guard limited his turnovers and ran the offense with precision.
“Bobo (Ross) played well,” Gruver said. “He did a nice job of letting the game come to him. He didn’t press too much. Some games he has tried too hard and worried about his offense Tonight he made the extra pass when he needed to, and his points came. He played good hard defense. We need him to step up to make a run.”
After struggling most of the season to make the easy two-fot shots, Liberal finished with points Saturday rather than a disappointing miss at point-blank range.
“We made those shots tonight,” Gruver said. “We struggled with that all year. We get bags out and bang on them at practice, we go one on one and let them go at it, so maybe those drills are starting to pay off.”
Liberal (5-14, 2-5) will face Garden City (12-7, 3-4) Tuesday in the new Garden City High School.