Lady Panthers clinch basketball district title
By Lauren Jette
The Lady Panthers capped a perfect district run with a 54-44 win at Burnet Tuesday night to claim the district championship.
Liberty Hill will face Canyon Lake in a bi-district matchup on Tuesday at a neutral location to be determined.
While Burnet is a rival that Liberty Hill always strives to beat, for head coach Chris Lange’s seniors, this game was about making up for an upset back in eighth grade.
“We all have a little funny story in the locker room about how (Burnet) beat us at the buzzer in eighth grade,” Lange said.
“Those same girls on the court at the end (of the Lampasas game) were probably those same girls on court when Burnet hit that underneath the basket two-point layup, so it still eats at us and we still talk about it.”
Lange was the coach for that eighth grade team at the time.
Now Liberty Hill’s return to the state tournament begins with Canyon Lake, which holds a 9-18 record and 5-7 district record.
“It’s all in who you get. It’s a matchup thing, and then you’ve got to get lucky,” Lange explained about the playoffs.
“You look at the road they took last year and they had three games that could have gone either way and the run’s over, so you’re got to be good, you’re got to be disciplined and you also got to get lucky. I’m hoping we get lucky here and there and I hope we’re good a lot and I hope we’re disciplined all the time, so we’ll see.”
Liberty Hill defeated Lampasas at home for Senior Night on Friday, 71-32. The Lady Badgers were able to hang on with the Lady Panthers for the first six minutes of the game before Liberty Hill’s defense effectively shut Lampasas down.
“You could tell Lampasas game-planned well,” Lange said.
“They were ready for a new defense we’ve been working on, so they did a pretty good job adjusting to that, but we have enough other things that we can go to that we were able to change what we did or what we were doing to combat them and were able to handle it, so it was good.”
The Lady Panthers are 31-3 on the season after earning 10 district wins. In the latest polls, the Texas Girls Coaches Association has Liberty Hill ranked no. 6, while the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches puts them at no. 14.