Ladies drop consecutive home games

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By Lance Catchings

The varsity girls’ basketball team has had a tough go of it at home lately, a trend that continued as they dropped a home game to Fredericksburg Tuesday night 46-28.

The Lady Panthers led the game for the entire first quarter, sparked by six points from Breon Robinson and a timely three-pointer from Ireland Sargent. Liberty held an 11-9 lead headed into the second, and that is when Fredericksburg battled back and took a 21-18 lead into halftime.

In the third quarter, Liberty Hill was outscored 10-5 as Fredericksburg held a 31-23 lead headed into the fourth quarter. Liberty Hill upped the defensive pressure and forced turnovers, but they were unable to get quality shots out of them. Head Coach Chris Lange said that although the score was closer in the first half, his team did not play much differently in the second half.

“The first half was not much better than the second half, except we scored a few more points, and that was the big difference,” Lange said. “We were managing to stay in it, and Fredericksburg struggled to score a little bit and we struggled to score. The second half, Fredericksburg wore us down a bit and we made bad turnovers at inopportune times. Fredericksburg was able to catch it, take it the length of the court and get some easy buckets. We gave up a couple threes in the third quarter which spurred them on, but it was not a very good second half for us.”

Fredericksburg came out in a full-court press for almost three full quarters, and the Lady Panthers did, as well. Unfortunately, Lange said their defensive execution wasn’t as tight as it needed to be.

“The first half, the press was not very good,” he said. “We were not being aggressive or moving our feet like we wanted to. At the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter, we did a much better job of being aggressive. At the same time, we were being aggressive but also out of position at times. There is a happy medium that we must find. You must be aggressive but also stay in the correct position when dealing with that pressure.”

The Lady Panthers gave maximum effort on defense, forcing turnovers but struggling with certain aspects of Fredericksburg’s screen game. Lange said the blame for the loss rests on his shoulders, not the girls.

“There are some nights where we do well on defense,” he said. “There were times where we looked alright and times where there are things we can’t do. We kept getting beat chasing the girls over the top of the high post screen. When we do that, we will never get there in time to stop the layup, and that is something that hurt us. The second half, we switched up our defense a little bit. For a little while it was alright and we applied pressure, but when we got the ball, we didn’t capitalize because we could not finish. That falls back on me, because it’s my job to get them there. We must do a better job as a coaching staff trying to figure out what is going to work so we can perform better as a team.”
After the loss, Lange encouraged his team to play every game with the intensity they showed towards the end.

“After the game, I talked to the girls about the intensity we had in the late third and early fourth quarter,” he said. “We must have that type of intensity in the first and second quarter. We must be willing to get on the court and go all out, and if you’re tired, then come sit down. We must communicate with each other. We had 31 turnovers, and that makes it tough to win a ballgame. We would like to keep it under 15 for a game, and we had 15 in the first quarter. We did a better job on the boards and rebounding, but the turnovers kill you.”

Sargent and Robinson each had eight points to lead the team. Jessica Holliday had four while Kailey Berzin and Emma Hubbard each score three. Brooke Wright scored two points, as well.

Last Friday, the Lady Panthers hosted a talented Wall team and lost 54-29. Liberty Hill only trailed Wall by five after the first quarter, but the offense only scored two points in the second quarter, which gave Wall a 28-12 lead headed into halftime.

“I thought we executed alright on offense for the most part,” Lange said. “We had some opportunities to hit shots, but it just wasn’t happening. We spent some time this week working on our man offense to try to give us more opportunities to score. We are not getting penetration, and we must try and create it. Wall is a very good 3A team, and I think they will make a good run at the playoffs. They had good size, were disciplined and could shoot the ball inside and outside.”

Liberty Hill is scheduled to face Georgetown on the road Friday night, but the game may be moved to Saturday afternoon to accommodate those who want to attend the State Semifinal football game. Following the game against Georgetown, the team will compete in the Lake Travis Tournament Dec. 27-29.

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