Panthers top Salado, prepare for second round

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At right, Carson Lowe shoots a three-pointer over a Taylor defender during the Panthers’ loss at home last week. Lowe had four three-pointers for the game. (Alex Rubio Photo)

At right, Carson Lowe shoots a three-pointer over a Taylor defender during the Panthers’ loss at home last week. Lowe had four three-pointers for the game. (Alex Rubio Photo)

The Panthers basketball team regrouped from a close loss against Taylor last week with a 53-39 win at Salado Tuesday night.

Liberty Hill lost a close game to Taylor at home on Jan. 29, 56-51.

The Panthers led the Ducks for most of the game, until Taylor came back from 5 points down with four minutes left in the game, and held Liberty Hill scoreless.

Taylor tied the game at 51 with 2:43 left on the clock. The Ducks made a basket and drew the foul with 1:10 left to go ahead 54-51. Taylor got one last basket in off a steal with 20 seconds left to seal the win.

“We played well enough to win, we just couldn’t carry it out. It’s disappointing. I’m disappointed. I think they are disappointed,” said head coach Barry Boren.

“Taylor should have been the prohibited favorite going into the game and I think we at least got their attention. We just made mistakes down the stretch.”

Boren credited the Ducks with making adjustments on their defense that the Panthers didn’t respond to well enough.

“They went from a man to a zone and we didn’t attack it very well, so we made some adjustments and the game got closer and we got more tentative with the basketball, which is not what we do best, but we had to do that to give ourselves a chance to win and we did that,” Boren said.

“We gave ourselves a chance to win, we just didn’t carry it out. Hats off to Taylor.”

Liberty Hill is 20-9 on the season and 4-2 heading into the second round of district action. The Panthers will travel to Lampasas Friday night to take on the Badgers, who Liberty Hill beat in the first round of district 72-44.

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