Undefeated district champs look to playoffs

Senior Kourtney Bevers nailed this three to get things started for the Lady Panthers in their win over Salado on Parents Night. (www.ThunderstruckPhotos.com)

By Joseph Garcia

The Lady Panthers of Liberty Hill made history Tuesday by completing the District 25-3A girls basketball gauntlet with an undefeated 10-0 record.

With their first goal being to win the district, Coach Matt Kirschner told the new champs they had achieved yet another goal in running the table and going undefeated, but makes sure the team is already looking ahead.

“Now it is time to get down and start working towards our next goal,” he said.

Liberty Hill (10-0, 30-4) earned a first-round bye on Monday, Feb. 13, in the bi-district round of the playoffs. But it is the way they closed out the season that should seemingly be of note.

Century Club

He did not make a big fuss about it. But Kirschner earned his 100th victory Tuesday, Jan. 31, when the Lady Panthers steamrolled Taylor 82-18.

Kirschner said it could not have happened with a more exceptional group of young women.

“I am just glad No. 100 came with this team,” he said. “They are a special group and very special to me.”

Party of Nine

It was an emotional scene last Friday night at the Panthers Den when nine seniors and their parents shared a moment on the court with Kirschner.

Macy Floyd, Chandler Christianson, Jessica Green, Kourtney Bevers, Stephanie Metzger, Taylor Russell, Lorrie Potts, Lauren Jackson, and Jordan Redmond all said thank you to their parents and Coach Kirschner on Senior Night, Friday Feb. 3.

Each senior was introduced and walked by to give the coach a hug. A hug is all Coach K could muster.

“(Parent’s Night) is such a special time, but tonight was real hard for me,” he admitted. “I didn’t speak to the girls when they went by I just hugged them…I couldn’t get the words out.”

After the procession, the nine seniors, their parents and Kirschner gathered at center court for a special moment.

“I told the parents thank you and that this is not the end,” he said. “This is the beginning.”

Finishing Strong

After the 82-18 win in Taylor, the Lady Panthers’ killer instinct must have kicked in because they finished with strong performances against Salado and Llano.

Before their final home game on Parents Night, the Lady Panthers faced the foe that ousted them from last year’s playoffs – Salado. It was their last meeting as 25-3A district foes and they did not forget.

They rode the emotions to a convincing 66-33 victory in which three players scored in double digits – Russell (16), Bevers (14), Green and Potts (10).

“I told them protect your house,” Kirschner said. “You don’t want your one loss to be at home.”

With all the emotions of playing their final home game, Coach Kirschner told the team to use it as fodder.

“Leave it all on the floor and have fun,” he said. “Play with your emotions, let them go and use them to your advantage. We did and did a great job of that.”

On Tuesday, Feb. 6, the Lady Panthers completed their undefeated district run with an 80-19 thrashing of Llano (2-8).

Bevers matched Llano’s team total with 19 points scored. Green dropped 15 of her own, Potts put in 13, Russell 12 and S. Metzger nine.

Coach Kirschner is confident the team is playing its best ball at the right time.

“We are starting to peak at the right time,” he said. “You have to peak in the playoffs.”

The Lady Panthers have a warm-up game scheduled with Hutto on Friday, Feb. 10, in Hutto and will play on Tuesday, Feb. 14, against an opponent yet to be determined.