By Joseph Garcia
It is official, the basketball season is here.
The Lady Panthers hosted their first basketball game of the season at the Panthers Den Tuesday when 4A Vista Ridge came to town.
Liberty Hill was down 7-0 before junior Blair Lord scored the Lady Panthers’ first points. Liberty Hill then hit back-to-back three pointers by Shelby Hart and Ashlee Walker.
At the end of the first, the Lady Panthers had crept back in to make it 14-10, but Vista Ridge (3-0) got the best of the young Liberty Hill (1-2) team in the end to win 51-35.
Liberty Hill Coach Matt Kirschner said the 2012 Lady Panthers are still a work in progress.
“We’re still trying to find our identity,” said Kirschner. “This is the first time we’ve had all 10 kids (on varsity). I didn’t have Jill (Green) or Baylie (Bevers) the first game, I did have Jill but not Baylie the second game and this time I had them all. We are trying to get the pieces to the puzzle put together.”
Vista Ridge began to pull away in the second quarter, building a 24-10 advantage, but a basket by Walker cut the lead in half at 24-12.
Maddie Metzger hit all four of her free throw attempts in the second quarter and the Lady Panthers got a three from Erin Fitzgerald and two more free throws from Shelby Whitte to make it a 10-point game at the half at 31-21.
Liberty Hill played well enough to hang around, but only scored two points in the fourth quarter on Metzger free throws. Metzger led the team in scoring with 10 on the night, but Liberty Hill needed more as Vista Ridge went back to Cedar Park with a 51-35 win.
The young Lady Panthers will play a plethora of tough opponents, which Coach Kirschner scheduled on purpose. This team needs to play games in order to gain experience and improve overall, said Kirschner.
“This is one of the hardest schedules that I could put together,” he said. “What I’m looking for is do we know where we need to be. We have to get better day in and day out. I’m not worried about the scoreboard, I’m just looking out where we need to be at (on the floor). There is not a doubt in my mind they can do it. The more games we play, the better off we are going to be.”