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Guymon gives Lady Redskins tough test, Liberal wins 48-44 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 February 2018 11:49

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Machia Mullens gets high above the Guymon defense Tuesday in the second half.. Mullens scored 12 points in a tough battle with the Lady Tigers, and No. 3 Liberal held on for a 48-44 win. L&T photo/Earl Watt

By EARL WATT

• Leader & Times

Good teams win the ugly games, so the saying goes, and that might just explain Liberal’s 48-44 win Tuesday over Guymon.

The Lady Redskins never put together a patented run, and the Lady Tigers kept clawing to the very end despite having lost to the Lady Redskins 49-25 earlier in the season.

But the Class 5A No. 3 Lady Redskins did just enough to get the win.

Freshman Aubrey Warden put up four points in the first quarter, and Liberal needed all of them just to stay close with the Lady Tigers.

By the end of the first quarter, the game was tied 9-9.

The two teams continued to trade points in the second quarter, but threes from Ali Lucero and Whitney Hay allowed the Lady Redskins to take a 21-19 halftime lead.

Despite threes from Lucero and Audrey Gilmore in the third, the Lady Tigers never let the Lady Redskins put the game out of reach, and Liberal only led 35-32 to start the fourth quarter.

Guymon was able to keep the game within a possession with three-point shots from Alexis Bishop, and Hay added another three for the Lady Redskins, but the Lady Tigers took advantage  of quick possessions and missed shots to kep the game within two possessions most of the period.

Liberal finally took the air out of the ball in the final minute-and-a-half, forcing the Lady Tigers to foul.

Still, Guymon had a chance to cut the lead, but the Lady Redskins rebounded late and held on for the 48-44 win.

“I didn’t think I had us prepared very well to play the game,” Liberal coach Carter Kruger said. “You have to credit Guymon. They came in ready to go and had a good plan for us. They made the game really close. It might be good for our kids to play a close game and go through those pressure situations.”

Liberal continued to shoot late, including a missed three, rather than slow the game down and run the clock with the lead.

“We shot a three late, and if you make it, it ices the game,” Kruger said. “If it doesn’t go in, it is tighter. It’s a catch 22. We did a nice job of running the clock-killing offense after that, and we got to the free throw line.”

Guymon’s Meagan Bellar made it tough for Machia Mullens in the first half, only allowing Liberal’s standout forward to score four points.

But Bellar fouled on some offensive rebound attempts, and that sent her to the bench with three first-half fouls. 

“It was big for us to attack (Bellar),” Kruger said. “She had a couple fouls 94 feet from our basket. That was big.”

Mullens scored eight of her team-leading 12 points in the second half. Lucero scored 10, and Warden and Hay each had eight.

“We did ok on the offensive end,” Kruger said. “We have to function better when teams sit back and make it tough on us to get to the rim.”

Warden’s eight helped when the focus was on Mullens.

“She has to get to the glass when teams don’t guard her,” Kruger said. “She had a nice easy lay-up when she slipped to the rim for a basket. If teams are going to guard like that, she has to be a force.”

Now the Lady Redskins (14-1) look to avenge their only loss of the season when Hays comes to The Big House Friday. First place in the Western Athletic Conference will also be on the line.

“We have won some big games,” Kruger said. “That experience and the team we have and the personalities we have, we should be ready to go. I’m sure we will have two of our best practices of the year this week. Hays is a quality team. If we play well enough we will be able to get the win.”

 

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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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