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Trifecta — Lady Redskins advance with 52-26 victory over Great Bend PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 01 March 2018 11:47

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By EARL WATT

• Leader & Times

The Lady Redskins faced Great Bend for the third time this season, and for the third time they ran away with a win, this time keeping their season alive while ending the year for the Lady Panthers.

Liberal ran away with a 52-26 victory, earning back-to-back first round wins in Sub-State.

The Lady Redskins jumped out quick with two free throws from Katie Horyna in the first five seconds of the game, and Aubrey Warden added a basket moments later for a 4-0 lead in less than 30 seconds.

And the top-seeded Lady Redskins continued to pour it on while using a stifling defense that made open looks difficult for the Lady Panthers.

Ali Lucero connected on Liberal’s only three in the game in the first quarter, and Machia Mullens owned the paint. 

But cutting to the basket made the difference for the Lady Redskins with penetration from Horyna, Audrey Gilmore and Warden that forced the Lady Panthers to foul, and the Lady Redskins made seven of eight free throws in the first quarter to help build an 18-7 lead.

Great Bend struggled to find success in the paint, so they started to look outside and connected on a pair of three pointers in the second quarter.

But the Lady Redskins continued to use dribble penetration for offense, and Liberal made four of six free throws to go along with three baskets in the paint to stretch the halftime lead to 28-13.

And the second half adjustments continued to be a strength for the Lady Redskins. Liberal’s defense picked up the pace and only allowed one Lady Panther basket and no free throws in the third quarter, and Mullens took over inside, scoring six points in the paint. Kim Alarcon came off the bench to get a steal and a break-away basket while being fouled for an old-fashioned three-point play, and the Lady Redskins pushed out to a 41-15 lead.

The Lady Redskins continued to get the ball in the lane, and the Lady Panthers continued to foul in the fourth quarter. The Lady Redskins made seven of eight free throw attempts in the final period, and Liberal coach Carter Kruger pulled his starters with about four minutes to play.

The Lady Panthers found some success late, but the Lady Redskins matched Great Bend point for point in the fourth quarter to preserve a 52-26 win.

Mullens led the Lady Redskins with 17 points. Horyna and Lucero each had nine.

The Lady Redskins were able to avoid foul trouble and only sent the Lady Panthers to the free throw line for eight shots. They made four.

“That was nice for us not to put them on the line a million times,” Kruger said. “We came out and put the pedal to the floor early. We came out on the offensive end, and we were super aggressive, which is encouraging to see us attack and attack like that. That is what we have to continue to do moving forward.”

The offense was effective on multiple levels, and that opened up more opportunities for the Lady Redskins.

“I thought we played with a lot of energy,” Kruger said. “It is one thing to attack with the dribble and drive, but when you can throw it in to the post and get buckets or go to the free throw line, and when your guards are going in with confidence, it’s a big difference. Our kids are right there. We will need three points to fall, probably on Saturday night. But we were able to score a lot without that, and we will keep going from here.”

Although the Lady Redskins can connect from deep, they were able to take what the Lady Panthers were giving, and it became contagious.

“Our whole team was making plays,” Kruger said. “Warden made plays, Alarcon made plays, plus the normal suspects, Ali and Katie and Audrey. We want to keep going on that and be a team that is tough to defend.”

The Lady Redskins (20-1) will host Goddard for the Sub-State championship at 6 p.m. Saturday in The Big House. No. 8 Goddard (11-9) advanced with a 45-33 win over Valley Center.

For the Lady Redskins to qualify for the State Tournament, they will need one more win. Lose, and the seaosn is over.

“We really have to rebound the ball,” Kruger said. “That is a key. Defensive rebounding is huge. We have to get better at all things — offense, defense. We have to take practice time seriously. Hopefully we can respond better than we did last year.”

And there is only one outcome that will make Saturday’s Sub-State championship special, according to Kruger.

“Win,” he said. “It will be special if we win, I know that. We don’t have to make it any bigger than playing a good Goddard team. We have to focus on the little things that make us a great basketball team, and if we can do those things, I think we have a chance.”

 

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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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