Panthers thump Canyon Lake in bi-district round

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By Keith Sparks

MARBLE FALLS — It was clear from the tip that Canyon Lake was outmatched against Liberty Hill Tuesday night as the Panthers took an 85-42 win at Marble Falls High School in the bi-district round of the playoffs.

Liberty Hill’s press looked completely foreign to Canyon Lake as they turned the ball over on seemingly every other possession, throwing the ball away and losing it out of bounds every time the Panthers were able to trap.

After one quarter of play, Liberty Hill led 27-5. At halftime, they led 52-17.

According to Liberty Hill Head Coach Barry Boren, it wasn’t a fair fight as Canyon Lake was missing its best player due to injury and their center was dealing with an illness.

“They were missing their best player who got a concussion yesterday,” Boren said. “Their post guy had the flu, so they were undermanned, and we knew that.”

After being up close to 40 at halftime, Boren used the second half to get his bench as much playing time as possible. They capitalized on the opportunity, continuing the beat down and effectively pressing and getting open looks on offense.

According to Boren, they did all that without running more than three different set plays in order to avoid giving too much away on film unnecessarily.

“In the second half, we wanted to make sure we got everybody some playing time,” Boren said. “We didn’t want to show very much, so we ran about two offenses and three separate plays.”

In addition to getting the bench some playing time, Boren is hopeful that Tuesday’s performance will allow some of his team to get in a groove, offensively. He specifically mentioned the performances of Jareck Naylor, Cade Cole, and Kadin Knight as those that may allow them to get hot down the stretch if they’re able to build upon Tuesday’s success.

Despite the less-than-entertaining blowout, Boren was as happy as he could be. As a coach, he admitted it’s nice to be on the winning end of a game that’s never in question.

“A lot of people don’t like games like these, but I like them, because I felt like we were going to win from early in the ballgame,” Boren said.

The offensive production was well spread out, as nine out of 10 active players got on the board. Carson Perkins led with 17, Naylor finished with 11, Kaleb Bannon had 11, Cole had 10, Cole Ondrasek had 9, Walker Baty had 8, Knight had 6, Parker McCurdy had 6, and Hunter Clayton had 3.

Regardless of the competition, a playoff win is a playoff win, and Boren made sure to appreciate it as such.

“The main thing is we got out of here with a win,” Boren said. “We’ll see what happens next. When you get to this point, there are no do-overs, so it’s a good win for us.”

Next, the Panthers will play Stafford High School, who won their bi-district matchup with La Grange in a much closer 42-39 ballgame Monday night.

The game will be played 7:30 p.m., Feb. 21 at Bryan Rudder High School.

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