Lord to play basketball at Dallas Baptist

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Panthers’ senior center Zach Lord signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Dallas Baptist University last week with his family and his coaches in attendance. (Keith Sparks Photo)

Panthers’ senior center Zach Lord signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Dallas Baptist University last week with his family and his coaches in attendance. (Keith Sparks Photo)

By KEITH SPARKS

Prior to his foot injury in the 16th game of the 2015 season, six-foot-nine-inch Panthers’ senior center Zach Lord had taken over as the focal point of Liberty Hill’s offense. Now 100 percent healthy, Lord looks to have an even bigger impact during his final season with the Panthers.

“This year I’m just giving it everything I have,” Lord said. “This is my last one.”

Lord has lived in Liberty Hill since he was in first grade, and has been close with Panthers’ Head Coach Barry Boren and his family essentially the entire time. In fact, he has had literally every member of the Boren family as a teacher or coach at some point in his life. Having grown up watching Panther basketball since he was in first grade, putting on the Panther jersey might mean a bit more to Zach than it does to others.

“It gives you a sense of pride,” Lord said. “You know what you’re playing for.”

Lord signed with Dallas Baptist University Nov. 9 after deciding between DBU, Mercer University, and the University of North Texas. The fact that he’d get to make an immediate impact at Dallas Baptist had a lot to do with his decision to sign with the Patriots.

“I just thought I had a better all-around opportunity at DBU,” Lord said. “I like the fact that I’ll be getting playing time as a freshman. I’ll be in the rotation and I really like the coaches.”

Lord will be joining his sister, who is an athletic trainer at DBU, and an already successful Patriot basketball team in Dallas come August. Last season, the Patriots made it all the way to the Final Four in the NCAA Division II National Tournament, and according to Lord, the team already feels like family.

“They’re close-knit,” Lord said. “They’re like brothers.”

At DBU, Lord and the Patriots will be competing in the Heartland Conference, which includes Dallas Baptist, University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, Lubbock Christian, Newman, Oklahoma Christian, Oklahoma Panhandle State, Rogers State, St. Edward’s, St. Mary’s, and Texas A&M International.

While attending DBU, Lord wants to major in criminal justice, hoping to move on to a career with the FBI after his collegiate basketball endeavor comes to an end.

“I like criminal justice,” Lord said regarding his possible future with the FBI. “That stuff intrigues me.”

Before he heads off to Dallas, Lord made it clear that he wants to add another district title to the Panthers’ resume, and if that happens, he’s not done there.

“I want to win district,” Lord said, “and I want to make it to the regional tournament, for sure.”

Lord and the Panthers lost their first game of the season in a one-point defeat to the Austin High School Maroons. Despite three starters fouling out, Liberty Hill still had a chance to win it after trailing by as many as 10 earlier in the game.

“I think we need to learn how to start faster,” Lord said. “Instead of having to get in a groove, just come out and give it our all, instead of going through the motions at the beginning.”

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