By Taylor Grafft
LORENA — The Liberty Hill Lady Panthers’ fantastic season, which included a co-district championship and solid playoff run, came to a close on Tuesday night after the girls fell to Kennedale in the Regional Quarterfinals.
The Liberty Hill Lady Panthers and Kennedale were tied at halftime 29-29, but the Wildcats put together an impressive fourth quarter to defeat the Lady Panthers 65-43.
The game, played at Lorena High School, was won in the fourth quarter when the Wildcats outscored the Panthers 20-6. Despite the heartbreaking loss, Liberty Hill still had a fantastic season and put in a solid run in the playoffs after tying Brownwood in district for a co-championship.
Several Liberty Hill players received post-season District Honors in District 8-3A. Junior point guard Shelby Whitten won Defensive MVP and junior guard Ashlee Walker, who led the Panthers in points this season, won Offensive MVP.
Brownwood’s senior Keeta Vaccaro won District MVP after helping the Lady Lions to a co-district championship. Brownwood’s Trejouir Wilson received Newcomer of the Year.
Liberty Hill’s Baylie Bevers made the 1st Team in District 8-3A, while Allee Nix and Chelsea Cole were selected for the 2nd Team.
Bridgett House, Blair Lord and Kaylie Potts were named Honorable Mentions in District 8-3A this season as well.
Next season, the Lady Panthers will return all of their players except senior leader Blair Lord who missed the last half of the season with injury. Ashlee Walker and Shelby Whitten will continue to be looked upon as key players for the Lady Panthers and will surely be leaders that will help the Panthers grow in the offseason.
Sophomore Allee Nix is a player to watch that was close to Lord, and someone Lord mentored this season. Nix is someone who could potentially fill Lord’s role on the team next year in the post. Baylie Bevers and Chelsea Cole were also players that contributed a lot on both ends of the court this season and will be key players when the Panthers return in the fall.
Before the Lady Panthers’ game against Kennedale on Tuesdy night, they put together two impressive wins in the bi-district and area rounds.
Against Alvarado in the bi-district round, junior guard Ashlee Walker scored 21 points in the 64-37 blowout win. Walker went 4-for-7 from the field and shot 5-for-12 from three-point range. Chelsea Cole also put in a solid performance and three, three pointers on her way to 11 points.
Liberty Hill outscored the Indians 21-to-7 in the fourth quarter to pull away and move onto the next round of the post season.
Against Burkburnett in the area round of the playoffs, the Panthers won a close game, 52-46. Walker put in another impressive performance and scored 25 points against the Bulldogs.
After Burkburnett made the game close in the third quarter, the Lady Panthers outscored the Bulldogs 10-to-9 to hold on and move on to the Regional Quarterfinals.