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Lady Redskins struggle to score, drop WAC opener in Hays, 48-41 PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 06 January 2018 11:01

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Liberal’s Machia Mullens splits two Hays defenders and is fouled Friday night in the Western Athletic Conference opener for both teams. Liberal fell behind ealry but rallied for a lead in the second half before dropping their first game of the season, 48-41. L&T photo/Earl Watt

By EARL WATT

• Leader & Times

HAYS — Ali Lucero knocked down critical shots just when the Lady Redskins needed them, but turnovers and missed lay-ups came back to haunt Liberal in a 48-41 loss to the Hays Lady Indians Friday.

Liberal’s shooting struggles started early, but a strong defensive effort kept the Lady Redskins close, and a shot by Katie Horyna tied the game late in the first quarter, 6-6.

But Hays hit a three to end the period with a 9-6 lead.

The Lady Redskins continued to struggle in the second quarter as shot after shot missed its mark, and after a Lucero three pulled Liberal within one midway through the period, 14-13, Hays went on e 7-0 run to take  a 21-13 lead before Machia Mullens made one of two free throws before half to cut the lead to 21-14.

The Lady Redskins picked up the pace to start the third quarter, and after Hays took a 27-19 lead, a 9-0 Liberal run that included two Lucero threes gave the Lady Redskins a 28-27 lead.

But the Lady Indians responded when Savannah Schneider drained a three, and after Horyna tied the game at 30-30, the Lady Indians hit a buzzer beater to end the period with a 32-30 Hays lead.

Hays attempted to put the game out of reach midway through the fourth quarter with a 39-34 lead, but Lucero again connected on a three-point shot, to keep the Lady Redskins within two, 39-37.

But back-to-back baskets by Isabel Robin allowed the Lady Indians to push out to a six-point lead with three minutes to play before the Lady Redskins cut the lead back to two with free throws from Aubrey Warden, 43-41.

But the missed shots continued to mount for the Lady Redskins in the final minute-and-a-half, and Hays  forced the Lady Redskins to foul. 

The Lady Indians finished the game on a 5-0 run, all free throws, and the Lady Redskins fell to 5-1 with a 48-41 loss.

“You can’t beat good teams like Hays when you turn it over 20-plus times and miss as many layups as we did,” Liberal coach Carter Kruger said. “I didn’t have them ready to go, and we didn’t compete at the level we needed to tonight.”

Kruger also wanted to see his team play better off the glass.

“We could have been more physical, especially how we were rebounding,” he said. “We gave up way too many offensive rebounds.?We have to step it up at practice on how we are competing and try to get back on the winning track.”

Lucero and Mullens led Liberal with 12 points each. Horyna had nine.

“Ali played big tonight,” Kruger said. “She made some shots. We just fell a little short. We didn’t give ourselves enough opportunities. We need to get started on fixing that asap.”

Liberal will travel to Garden City Tuesday and will look to even up the Western Conference record.

 

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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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