By Taylor Grafft
The Liberty Hill Runnin’ Panthers basketball team had several players finish with District Honors after their stellar season, which included a co-district championship and 25 wins. Despite being one of the youngest teams in District 8-3A, the Panthers were still arguably the best team and will return a majority of their players in 2015.
Liberty Hill’s junior point guard Callen Mikulencak received Offensive MVP in District 8-3A, while sophomore guard Conner Lowe received the Newcomer award in district this season. Mikulencak led the Panthers in scoring and was a key player in the Panthers’ co-district championship run and Liberty Hill’s overall success.
Burnet’s senior Clayton Baumgart won District MVP after helping lead the Bulldogs to a co-district championship and 20-13 overall record. Burnet senior Derek Kiser won the Defensive MVP in district.
Liberty Hill senior Tristan Heidelberg, who was one of the Panthers’ key leaders and scorers on the team throughout the year, made the 1st Team in District 8-3A, along with teammate and sophomore Slater Foust.
Sophomores Carson Lowe and Aedan Welch earned spots on the 2nd Team in District 8-3A after their valuable contributions from the Panthers’ bench. Carson Lowe came up from the Panthers’ Junior Varsity squad during the season and was one of the best three-point shooters down the stretch along with his twin brother Conner and teammate Heidelberg.
Welch provided valuable minutes and was a key player off the bench, especially in district play, and provided a physical presence in the post for the Panthers.
Freshman Zach Lord earned Honorable Mention in District 8-3A after making the Varsity team in his first year at Liberty Hill, leading the Panthers in rebounding, and remaining a starter for Coach Barry Boren in the post all season long.
The Panthers return a lot of experience next year, but are losing a key starter in Heidelberg and several key bench players. Coach Boren returns all but one of his starters, and will have one of the deepest teams in the state next season.