By Lance Catchings
The Liberty Hill varsity girls’ basketball team dispatched Lampasas 89-27 Jan. 12, improving their overall record to 24-3 on the season with a 6-0 record in District 19-4A.
The Lady Panthers got off to a fast start, using an attacking offense and solid press defense to control the game from the get-go. Liberty Hill built a 26-7 lead by the end of the first quarter, after which the game was never in question.
“We started off pressing and jumped on them early in the first quarter,” said Head Coach Chris Lange. “From there, we pulled out of the press and worked on our half-court defense. Offensively, we tried to work on a couple new wrinkles to try and get some more movement. I thought, overall, it went pretty well. The press was something we’ve worked on in practice, trying to clean up some areas where we had some trouble. I thought we did a pretty good job there.”
By halftime, the Lady Panthers held a 52-11 lead and outscored Lampasas 37-16 in the second half while getting an opportunity to rotate all of their players into the game.
“We played all 15 girls once again,” Lange said. “In the first half, I kept them in their groups, but in the second half, I switched our rotations a little bit. Up to the game, we had a good week of practice. We worked on some shooting last week, which we had struggled the week before shooting outside. We hit seven three-point shots against Lampasas, which was a good sign. The girls came out strong and our energy was high, which is always a good thing.”
Kandyn Faurie led the team in points with 19, followed by Sedona Prince with 14 and Bethany McLeod with 12. The Lady Panthers shot 71 percent from the free throw line in the win.
The Lady Panthers were also scheduled to play Leander Glenn on Tuesday, but the game was postponed due to the winter storm that cancelled school for districts throughout the Central Texas area.
Lange said his team is working to stay focused on the big picture while handling each of their district opponents. The Glenn game will mark the second half of District 19-4A play before the Lady Panthers head to the playoffs.
While the Lady Panthers hold the lead in the district standings with an undefeated record, Burnet and Leander Glenn aren’t far behind at 5-1 and 4-2 for second and third place, respectively.
“We still have to go out every night and take care of business,” Lange said. “I tell the girls every day that we could get beat by anybody on any given night, so we have to continue to show up to play. As soon as we get to playoffs, the intensity picks up and the level of play picks up week-by-week. You have to be ready to step on the court, and that is the hard part about the situation that we are in. We are trying to keep our motivation up and keep our eye on the prize. We still have down days just like anybody else, but we have to keep playing and practicing hard.”
One positive of Liberty Hill’s recent blowout wins is that it allows their younger players to get quality work against varsity opponents.
“It’s good to get everybody in the game,” Lange said. “It really helps the morale of the team when everybody plays and is contributing. It is nice to see my freshman point guard get some minutes in preparation for the years she will have down the road. It’s good to get some of my seniors that don’t get as many minutes in the game. Heaven Dandridge is starting to find her shot, and that could help us later. (Carissa) Garza had a really good game against Lampasas, and that is important for us. It is about getting the girls comfortable. That way, if their name is called later down the road, they can step on the court knowing, ‘I can do this.’”
The game against Leander Glenn was rescheduled for 8 p.m. on Wednesday — after press time for The Independent.