By Joseph Garcia
WIMBERLEY — Last Friday, Central Texas experienced a much-needed downpour, making travel from Liberty Hill to Wimberley a slow and soggy one.
And once finally in the gym, the faithful Liberty Hill fans witnessed another storm as the Lady Panthers made it rain buckets, scoring nearly a hundred points in their second-round area playoff game.
It seemed a mismatch from when Liberty Hill won the tip, until the final buzzer as the Lady Panthers weathered the Lady Hurricanes of San Antonio Sam Houston for a 98-41 victory.
Seemingly itching to get on the court for the post-season, senior Kourtney Bevers set the tone with 13 first-quarter points, sending a message to the opposing team that they came to win.
“She did real well,” said Liberty Hill Coach Matt Kirschner. “She is our emotional leader and came out with energy and played real well.”
Senior Jessica Green added seven points of her own, helping Liberty Hill to an 11-0 run to close out the quarter with the Lady Panthers on top 29-9.
Green scored 10 more in the second quarter and Bevers added six as the Lady Panthers outran and outscored the Lady Canes 26-8 to take a sizeable 55-17 lead into the locker room at the half.
Coach Kirschner said the strategy was to make Sam Houston’s athletic team run with his deep bench of quality players.
“I told them before the game to come out and run and let’s see if we can outrun them,” Kirschner said. “I didn’t know if we could, but knew if we got the lead they would have to run with us to get back in it and we were able to keep pushing it.”
In the second half, Liberty Hill starters received more rest than usual, but the Lady Panthers continued to build their lead and light up the scoreboard.
Seniors Jordan Redmond, Stephanie Metzger and Macy Floyd each scored four points in the third quarter. And Taylor Russell hit three of four from the charity stripe to help lead the Lady Panthers to a 78-32 lead with one period to play.
To the Lady Canes’ credit, they never stopped competing and never gave up. However, the margin was too great to overcome and the points kept coming for Liberty Hill.
Junior Maddie Metzger was a perfect six of six from the free throw line and scored two more buckets for 10 of her 14 points in the fourth quarter.
“(Maddie) played really good,” Kirschner said. “Every kid can step up and you never know night in and night out who it’s going to be.”
And with the win in his back pocket, with 1:15 remaining Coach Kirschner inserted four junior varsity players into the lineup who he asked to hang around for the playoff run.
Juniors Shelby Hart and Brittany Beach along with sophomore Blair Lord and freshman Shelby Whitten got a taste of the playoffs. Hart scored two points and Lord added one.
“I wanted to reward them for playing and sticking with me in the playoffs,” Kirschner said. “They could have gone to another sport or to the off-season, but I asked them to stay and I am going to reward them a little bit.”
Team leaders included Bevers with 25 points and seven steals, Green with 22 points and seven assists. And Russell tallied a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.