Lady Panthers stroll through Salado
By LAUREN JETTE
The Lady Panthers continued their roll through district with another dominating win at home Tuesday, claiming a third victory over Salado 49-18.
“They had a game plan of trying to slow us down, especially after we got that 10 or 12 point lead, they really kind of went into a stall-type of an offense, looking to spread us out and trying to make us work to death,” said head coach Chris Lange.
“Luckily, I have 16 or so girls (on the bench) who all can play.”
Salado netted the first basket of the game, but Liberty Hill responded with an assist from Autumn Lange to Sedona Prince to put the Lady Panthers on the board.
A basket from Megan Huppee gave the Lady Panthers the lead, but Salado responded with another basket to tie it up again at 4 all.
On their next possession, the Lady Eagles took the lead again with a long basket.
A free throw from Huppee cut the Salado lead down to one point, before the Lady Eagles hit a three with four minutes left in the quarter to go up 5-9.
Huppee found Prince for a basket, and then Madelyn Cheney hit a jumper to tie the score at 9.
A put back from Amanda Boliek with two minutes left gave the Lady Panthers a lead again, but Salado answered with a basket to tie the game a third time.
Boliek stole the ball and passed to Shaylin Vickers, who got the open layup and lead with 30 seconds left in the quarter.
Huppee got the steal on the Lady Eagles’ possession and passed to Lange for the basket as time expired on the quarter.
That would the end of Salado’s offense for the first half, as the Lady Panthers held the Lady Eagles to one basket at the end of the second quarter, while scoring 15 of their own points.
“We continued to put pressure and that’s what we did, we kept working, working, working,” Lange said. “We had to get out of our zone a little bit here and there, but even that started getting better as the game went on, we started to figure out how to play it a little bit better. I’m very pleased with our defensive effort and how hard we played, so I was good with that.”
On Friday, the Lady Panthers will play their final home game of the season against Lampasas, where senior players and their parents will be honored before the game. Liberty Hill will wrap up district play at Burnet on Tuesday.
“Right now, I’m not worried about Burnet, that’s not a problem. Not that they’re not good, what I’m saying is its all about Lampasas for the next three days, and then after Lampasas, we’ll start worrying about Burnet,” Lange said.
“Right now, it’s still about Lampasas. I know they’ve had a rougher season, but they won one last week, so. It doesn’t matter, whoever shows up, we have to play them first.”
Even with a perfect district record so far, Lange still saw some weaknesses from his team that he would like to get worked out before the start of playoffs.
“Free throws. I’m going to go back to the same ol’, same ol’,” he said. “We have to get more consistent at the free throw line. We started off and I thought, ‘ok, here we go. It’s looking pretty good.’ I decided I wasn’t going to say anything about it and then we started missing a couple, so maybe I should have said something. I don’t know. We’re shooting a ton in practice, it just hasn’t developed into a game. We’ll keep shooting and keep working on it.”
The Lady Panthers were tested in a game at Taylor on Jan. 29, but downed the Lady Ducks 56-45.
Liberty Hill held a three-point lead after the first quarter, and then a seven-point lead at the half. The Lady Panthers outscored Taylor 18-8 in the third quarter. The Lady Ducks mounted a comeback in the final eight minutes, outscoring Liberty Hill 11-17, but couldn’t close the gap.
Liberty Hill will host the Lampasas Lady Badgers Friday. Freshmen and junior varsity teams will play at 5 p.m., with varsity taking the floor at 6:30 p.m.