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Lucero drops 14 to lead Liberal to runaway win PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 09 December 2017 11:04

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Ali Lucero drives to the basket and is fouled by a Hereford defender Friday night in the Big House. Lucero was able to score int ransition as well as connect on two three pointers to lead Liberal to a 58-37 win over the Lad Whitefaces in the first round of the Conestoga/Comunity Bank Classic. L&T photo/Earl Watt

By EARL WATT

• Leader & Times

Liberal may have had a problem shaking the Hereford Lady Whitefaces early Friday, but in the second half, they ran by the Herd with a potent transition offense for a 58-37 win that pushed Liberal to 3-0 on the season.

After only making two three pointers against Guymon earlier in the week, the Lady Redskins made three long-range shots in the first quarter against Hereford, two of those from Ali Lucero and another from Audrey Gilmore.

Hereford also connected on an early three, but the Lady Redskins jumped out to a 15-9 lead.

The Lady Whitefaces continued to use the long ball in the second quarter, and the Lady Redskins struggled to find clean shots.

Hereford challenged the Lady redskin offense, and Machia Mullens made the only field goal for the Lady Redskins in the period while Hereford connected on three three-pointers and another field goal.

Liberal added five free throws before halftime, but Hereford cut Liberal’s lead to 22-21 at half.

Katie Horyna took over in the third quarter, forcing turnovers and cutting to the basket to score eight points in the period.

Whitney Hay added a three, and the Lady Redskin defense denied Hereford open shots. In a reversal of fortune, Hereford only made one field goal in the third quarter to go along with four free throws, and the Lady Redskins jumped out to a 36-27 lead.

Liberal’s defense continued to be tenacious in the fourth quarter, and the Lady Redskins continued to turn defensive stops into transition opportunities.

Eight Lady Redskins scored in the fourth quarter including two three pointers from Whitney Hay.

For the second straight game, Liberal scored more than 20 points in the fourth quarter, this time scoring 22 points to run away from the Whitefaces with the 58-37 win.

“The last five minutes of the second quarter, we had trouble scoring the ball,” Liberal coach Carter Kruger said. “The kids responded at halftime. We had more resolve to get the types of shots we wanted on offense and to continue to play good defense.”

Lucero set the tone early for the high-octane Lady Redskin offense.

“Ali he had 10 of our 15 points in the first quarter,” Kruger said. “She knocked down shots that were available. We have to make shots when we have good looks — we have to knock them down.”

The Lady Whitefaces provided a tough challenge which should help Liberal prepare for the Western Athletic Conference later in the season.

“This is a good Hereford squad, a good test for us early,” Kruger said. “They had a long day traveling here, and we wore them down later in the game. They showed us some things we need to work on to be the type of team we want to be.”

Horyna also showed the ability to get to the basket on drives, something Kruger said was vital to the success of his system.

“We need guards to get to the rack and the free throw line,” he said. “It is a key for us. We work on it every day at practice — get to the rim and finish. Our kids are getting better, but we have a long way to go.”

So far, the Lady Redskins have scored more points in the second half, a sign of a team prepared to play a full four quarters.

“You hope preparation through the week and preseason has been good,” Kruger said. “I think ours has been. Our conditioning level is pretty good. The kids ran a lot this fall. We wear teams down, and by the fourth quarter we get some runouts and easy baskets. That’s how we want to play, be a fast paced team and put 34 minutes of pressure on the other guys.”

Lucero led the Lady Redskins with 14 points, 10 of those in the first quarter, and Horyna added 12. Whitney Hay scored nine.

The Lady Redskins played back-to-back games in the Conestoga/Community Bank Classic with a late Saturday game against Borger. See updates at leaderandtimes.com.

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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