Lady Panthers fall to Pflugerville

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By Lance Catchings

PFLUGERVILLE — The Liberty Hill girls’ basketball team dropped a tough game on the road Tuesday to Pflugerville High School 47-38. The Lady Panthers knew it would be a tough game headed into the matchup against Pflugerville’s size.

“Pflugerville is a really good team,” said Head Coach Chris Lange. “They are very athletic, and they have a couple of really nice players. London Clarkson is going to Florida State University and she can really play. We knew it would be a challenge for our team and our younger players. We needed to minimize turnovers and block out to get the win. It was a challenge for us and another opportunity for us to grow.”

Over the weekend, the Lady Panthers competed in the highly-regarded Jack Frost Tournament in Georgetown. Liberty Hill played four games over the course of three days. Senior Ireland Sargent led the team in scoring throughout the tournament. Lange said the Jack Frost Tournament forced his team to adjust to some adversity.

“We were a little bit up and down in the tournament and we learned a little bit about ourselves,” he said. “Learning is ultimately the goal when you go into these types of tournaments. We simplified a few things and we made some strides in the right direction. That is what you try to get out of it when you are there.”

Thursday morning, the Lady Panthers suffered a 51-46 loss to St. Agnes after leading their opponent. Second-half miscues ended up costing Liberty Hill late in the game. Sargent and Breon Robinson each had 11 points, followed by Gracie Whitten and Kailey Berzin, who each had six.

“We had a two-point lead headed into halftime, and then we gave up 11 points at the start of the third quarter,” Lange said. “They outscored us 14-3 in the third quarter, and that’s what beat us. In the fourth quarter,we outscored them but just came up a little short. It was a good game at both ends. We had some trouble rebounding the ball and blocking out in that game. It was a tough loss, because it was one we felt like we should’ve won.”

Thursday afternoon, Liberty Hill lost to Corpus Christi Flour Bluff 40-21. Robinson led with five points, while Sargent, Wright, and Baylee Laird each had four.

“Flour Bluff was a good team,” Lange said. “There were moments during the game where we had some chances to make some runs, but we didn’t shoot the ball very well. We also did not block out and rebound the ball very well. We are concentrating and trying to get better at it, we are just a little on the small side.”

Friday, the Lady Panthers lost to The Colony 64-35. The 5A school out of Fort Worth created some matchup problems, but the girls made great strides even in the loss. Sargent led with seven, followed by Gracie Whitten with six.

“The Colony was athletic, tall and got up and down the court really well,” Lange said. “They jumped on us early 29-5 in the first quarter. We made a little bit of a run in the second quarter. We did better, but the first quarter really put us behind the ball and made it tough. We spread out the scoring a little better in that game. We also learned how to handle a few things in different situations during that game, which was good from a coaching standpoint. I thought we did a better job of rebounding the basketball.”

In their last game of the tournament, Liberty Hill faced Austin Akins, who they previously beat this season 54-50. In the rematch, the Lady Panthers got the best of Akins again for a 38-26 victory. Sargent led with seven points, followed by Emma Hubbard with six.

“We played Austin Akins for the second time this year, which was a fun game,” Lange said. “They knew what to expect from us and vice versa, so it came down to who could execute. The first game, we got down early and had to fight to come back and win. This time, we took the start of it and got up on them. It was 14-11 them after the first quarter. We took a 32-21 lead in the second quarter and went up 33-25 in the third quarter. We ended up beating them 38-26. We rebounded the ball well and shot the ball a little better. We still missed a few easy layups, and I think some of that is because we are rushing. It was nice to get a win, and it was a needed one for all of us.”

The Lady Panthers find themselves in a bit of new territory this season, but they are determined to work out the kinks in their game.

“We are in a different situation than we have been the last few years,” Lange said. “We are young, and we understand that. We are trying to get better everyday in practice and during the games. We try to learn from the mistakes we are making, and it can be tough when you lose games. We are playing some tough teams from large schools. We can’t look for excuses. We still have to find a way to get it done.”

Liberty Hill currently sits at 7-10 on the season and has another tough stretch ahead. The team hosts Wall Friday night and Fredericksburg the following Tuesday. Liberty Hill opens District 27-4A play at home against Burnet Jan. 4.

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