Lady Panthers cruise through Bi-district
By LANCE CATCHINGS
The Liberty Hill girls’ basketball team unleashed against an overmatched Giddings team Monday night in Taylor to take a 106-34 win and be named Bi-district Champions. The Lady Panthers (31-3) have been eager to return to the playoffs, and it showed as they shut out Giddings in the first quarter 31-0. Bethany McLeod had five points in the first quarter and junior Gracie Whitten hit two clutch three-point shots to close out the period.
McLeod said when the team gets a fast start, they love to run fast break on opponents.
“When we came out, we had really good intensity,” McLeod said. “The press is really good for us, because we can get a lot of points up and we can get going. Fast break is so much fun for us. We love to attack the basket, and when teams think we will shoot, we can juke and make a pass. It gives you that, ‘I got you’ feeling.”
The Lady Panthers stayed on the gas in the second period as Kandyn Faurie showed off why she will play at Tarleton State University next season. Faurie displayed some excellent ball handling skills, driving to score and finding open windows that drew cheers from the crowd. The senior had 10 points in the quarter as Liberty Hill took a 57-12 lead into halftime.
Liberty Hill outscored Giddings 33-7 in the third period as Head Coach Chris Lange began to rotate his bench players regularly. Faurie, McLeod, and Heaven Dandridge all had big points in the quarter. Dandridge was all over the court with high layups off the glass and several nice assists.
“We have been working on driving the ball and kicking out to find the open person,” Dandridge said. “It is always good to get in the game and make shots. I have always been a three-point shooter, but I try to be well rounded, as well. Defensively, I have struggled in the past, and that is something I have tried to work on and improve. I have to keep it up with the rest of our team.”
Dandridge played with all three rotations due to Kasye Bevers seeing limited action due to a sore ankle.
“Playing with all three rotations is something I like,” Dandridge said. “When I run with the third group, I feel like I have more control and leadership. With the first group, I just go in and do my job, so it’s a good mix.”
Faurie led the team with 26 points in the win while Sedona Prince was second with 16. McLeod and Dandridge each had 15, and Gracie Whitten had nine on three three-pointers.
Lange said the win was good, but it will be back to work for the team.
“We got it going early tonight,” Lange said. “We had a few issues with defense and a couple of things I did not like. I did not like the amount of three-point shots that we gave up tonight. Even if they are just chucking them up there, we still have to play. We were giving them too much space and that let them hit three shots in a row, and we can’t do that in a tight ball game. The second half, we have to talk a little bit more on defense, but overall, it was a pretty good game.”
Lange said Bevers had a sore ankle, but will be ready to play again soon. He knows the team will need all hands on deck with the change in competition they will soon face.
“We couldn’t play Kasye that much, because she has a sore ankle,” Lange said. “Heaven stepped in and fills that role for anyone we need filled at the guard position. We had a good week of practice last week. We have to have a good week of practice and get ready for the next game ahead. From this point forward, the biggest change for us will be speed. The teams will be up and down the court.”
The Lady Panthers will take on Mexia in the Area playoff round on Friday, Feb. 16 at Hearn High School. Game time has yet to be decided, but will be either 6:00 or 7:00 p.m.