Strong 2nd half lifts Liberal to blowout win Print
Wednesday, 07 February 2018 11:48


Braxton Hyde gets free under the basket for a lay-up Tuesday against Guymon. The Redskins put together the best second half of the season in a 67-33 rout of the Tigers. L&T photo/Earl Watt


• Leader & Times

Third quarters have not been good for the Liberal Redskins this season, but that may have changed after Tuesday’s win over the Guymon Tigers. Liberal outscored Guymon 25-7 in the third quarter and 42-12 in the second half to snap a series of second half letdowns in a 67-33 rout.

If there was a Redskin letdown, it came early.

Liberal struggled to make shots in the first quarter, and the Tigers were draining shots form the three-point line. Guymon dropped four threes in the first quarter while Liberal only managed for baskets total, a jumper form Ethan Hatcher, two shots from Kace Vongsokda, and a lay-in from Cameron Riley, and the Redskins trailed by 11 at the end of the first quarter, 19-8.

But the Redskins reversed course in the second, starting with back-to-back threes from Vongsokda and Hatcher to cut the lead to 19-14.

Lee Hatcher hit a shot to cut the lead to three before Guymon’s Diego Lozano made a Tiger basket with 3:41 to play in the half to push Guymon’s lead back to five.

It was the only basket Guymon would make in the period.

Liberal’s Jordan Mendoza, Tristen Bigham, and Lee Hatcher scored the next seven points, and Braxton Hyde broke free under the basket for a bucket, and the Redskins completed a 17-2 run to take a 25-21 lead at half.

They have been there before.

Liberal had halftime leads over Buhler, Abilene and Great Bend in the last six games only to lose all three by double digits with second half letdowns.

Not this time.

After scoring the first two baskets of the second half, the Redskins gave up a bucket to the Tigers with a 29-23 lead.

And then Liberal went on a 13-0 run that pushed the lead to 42-23.

After a Tiger free throw, Vongsokda hit a shot to give the Redskins a 20-point lead, and three-point shots from Mendoza and Cameron Riley protected the Liberal advantage.

In a reversal of fortune, the Redskins won the third quarter 25-7 to take a 50-28 lead.

And they didn’t let up.

Liberal scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter including four free throws from Bigham in one-and-one situations, and Liberal coach Ryan Petty cleared the bench with a 30-point lead.

Even the reserves came up big with points from Alex Arriaga, Elijah McCarter Kris Workman and Alex Lopez in the final three minutes while holding Guymon to just five points in the final period, and the redskins cruised to the 67-33 win.

After giving up 19 points in the first quarter, Liberal only allowed 14 points the rest of the game.

Vongsokda led the Redskins with 15 points, and Bigham followed with 14.

Lee Hatcher had eight, and 12 Redskins scored in the win.

“This was the sixth game in a row we were up at half, and we gave up 21, 20 and 15 in the third in losses,” Petty said. “We had to bring defensive energy. We came out and were ready to guard. It snowballed on them, that’s what we wanted to do.”

Liberal was down to Guymon in the second game of the season in the first quarter before coming back for a three-point win.

“We’ve been here before, down big in the first quarter and had a big second,” Petty said. “It was the same script. But we can’t allow a big third quarter. We had to come out with defensive intensity. We did that.”

Now the Redskins will have to duplicate the effort in a Western Athletic Conference game against Hays Friday.

“We know how fast Hays plays,” Petty said. “They will want to make it a track meet. We have to be smart. We will have to have ball pressure and send guys running when the shot goes up. We can’t let them have outlet passes, If you can hold them in transition, you’ve won half the battle because that is where they score a ton of their points.”

Liberal hosts Hays at 7:30 p.m. Friday.