By EARL WATT
• Daily Leader
After falling to 0-2 in the Western Athletic Conference, and with the Orange Black Classic looming, Liberal needed a momentum boost.
Maize South provided it Friday night in the Big House.
After a slow start offensively, the Redskins used an aggressive defense to limit Maverick opportunities and score transition baskets in a 55-36 win.
Jade Cathey led the Redskins with 18 points.
“We needed to pick it up,” Cathey said.
It was apparent that Liberal was going to play stronger defense against the Mavericks than they had against Hays and Garden City.
“It might have been a bit of a focus at practice,” Liberal coach Drew Gruver said. “It is a mindset to guard people and not let them score. We wanted to come out with intensity and take the fight to them.”
That aggression led to some early fouls, but Gruver expected to hear some whistles.
“We played harder, and when you play hard you will foul,” he said. “It took us a half before we started playing hard in Garden City. We wanted to come out with intensity.”
While Cathey was able to penetrate for scoring opportunities, Justin Andrade kept the defense honest by connecting on three three-point shots.
With the balanced scoring attack, Maize South couldn’t get enough scoring to meet the challenge. Maverick standout Evan Allen scored 22, but no other Maverick had more than five.
In addition to Cathey’s 18 and Andrade’s nine, Bryan Morris had seven for the Redskins, Kowan Russell scored seven, Kedrick Eyle had six, and Tyson Deaton, Evan Dart, Bryce Johnson and Blake Willimon each scored two.
Liberal will travel to Colby Thursday to participate in the Orange and Black Classic.