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Mullens dominates in 47-22 win PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 16 December 2017 11:00

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Machia Mullens puts her hand on the ball while guarding a Perryton player Friday night in Perryton. Mullens had a double double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds to lead the Lady Redksins to a 47-22 win. L&T photo/Earl Watt

By EARL WATT

• Leader & Times

PERRYTON — Five minutes into Friday night’s game between Liberal and Perryton, neither team had scored, and while the Lady Redskins missed a lot of easy shots in that first five minutes, they eventually found the target while the Rangerettes struggled throughout the night to make baskets, and Liberal used a strong surge in the second half to run away with a 47-22 win and moved to 5-0 on the season.

No mater where the Lady Redskins shot in the first five minutes, nothing would go in. Inside with Machia Mullens, outside with Ali Lucero, mid-range with Katie Horyna — nothing.

Perryton couldn’t take advantage of Liberal’s early offensive struggles because the Lad Redskin defense took away the outside shot with an active zone, and the Rangerettes weren’t ready to test the height advantage of Mullens in the lane.

Mullens finally broke through with 2:56 to lay in the first half when she was fouled on a putback attempt, and she sank both free throws.

She added another shot in the quarter to take a 4-0 lead before Perryton was able to make a free throw, and after Reagan Watt rebounded a missed shot and laid it in, Liberal had a 6-1 lead until Perryton was able to finally get a clean outside shot for a three, and the first quarter ended with a total of 10 points being scored between the two teams with the Lady Redskins leading 6-4.

Both teams continued to rely on defense in the second quarter, and Perryton struggled at another key spot on the floor — the free throw line.

Liberal outscored the Rangerettes 10-7 in the period, but Perryton missed all four free throw attempts including the front end of two one-and-one chances, and the Lady Redskins took a 16-11 lead at halftime.

But the Lady Redskins started the second half on fire with drives from Horyna, Audrey Gilmore and Mullens, and Liberal quickly pushed to a double digit lead.

And the scoring just kept coming while Perryton struggled to get an open look.

Lucero also forced the Rangerettes to foul her on drives to the basket, and she scored five points in the period including three free throws.

Kim Alarcon turned a steal into a basket, and Mullens added a pair of free throws while the Lady Redskins defense only allowed one basket from the field and a free throw. Liberal outscored Perryton 15-3 in the third quarter tot ake a 31-14 lead.

With momentum on their side, the Lady Redskins continued to pout it on in the fourth quarter.

The only drawback to the Liberal defense in the fourth quarter were the massive number of fouls committed.

Perryton took 16 free throw shots in the final period, but they only made four of them.

Liberal didn’t shot one free throw in the fourth quarter. 

They wouldn’t need any.

Mullens added six more points in the final eight minutes, and Alarcon, Tania Minjarez, Reece Hay, Gilmore and Horyna all had baskets in the fourth quarter, and the Lady Redskins doubled up the Rangerettes in the period, 16-8.

Perryton’s night was shown in their free throws. The Rangerettes only made six of 24 attempts in the game for 25 percent.

Liberal only took 10 shots but made eight of them for 80 percent.

Mullens led the Lady Redskins with 14 points and a perfect four for four from the free throw line.

Lucero scored nine, and Horyna had eight.

“We started the game ok on offense,” Liberal coach Carter Kruger said. “But we missed shots around the rim we can certainly make. That led to a tighter game early. We only scored six points in the first quarter, that’s a little hard on the eyes. But I like the way our kids responded. They didn’t let it get in their heads and they played well down the stretch.”

Perryton continued to look for outside shots throughout the night, but the Lady Redskin perimeter defense didn’t allow it.

“They are a pretty good three-point-shooting team,” Kruger said of the Rangerettes. “We held them to two for 22 from three. That tells you what length in your defense can do. The kids got out and challenged the shots well, which I liked. Then our kids did a decent job rebounding, that’s something we will continue to work on.”

As has happened in other games this season, Liberal pulled away in the second half.

“Our defensive pressure gets to teams,” Kruger said. “I thought our kids did a nice job to start the third quarter. We were efficient on offense, and then we didn’t look back.”

Mullens had a standout night, but Kruger said she is capable of even more.

“She means so much to our team,” he said. “When she gets in foul trouble, it limits our offense. She is just scratching the surface of what she can be. She works hard to get better. She wants to be great, and she wants to put Liberal girls basketball back on the map.”

Horyna is another standout for the Lady Redskins, but she was called for three charging fouls, something that Kruger said she doesn’t have to do to be successful.

“We only had seven turnovers that were not offensive fouls,” he said. “We had seven offensive fouls. Our kids lost focus and were moving their feet, and we got some moving screens called. They were all fouls. Katie (Horyna) is so aggressive and so good, she needs to learn that she doesn’t need to foul to score.”

Liberal finished the 2017 slate of the schedule a perfect 5-0 and will not play again until they travel to Hays January 5.

“A lot will be on our leadership on the team to stay focused and stay hungry,” Kruger said. “We go on our toughest road trip against the second best team in the WAC in Hays. They beat us in the summer. I hope that fact alone will keep our kids hungry, and we respond the right way.”

 

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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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