Lady Panthers sweep season series against Bulldogs

2017-01-20 - LHHS Girls BB vs Burnet-04571-23-web

Andrea House (#3) puts up a floater a few feet outside the lane over three Burnet defenders. House finished the game with six points on the night. (Alex Rubio Photo)

By Paul Livengood

Get your brooms out. It’s time for some early spring cleaning.

The Lady Panthers did some early spring cleaning of their own, defeating the Burnet Bulldogs 76-34 last Jan. 20 to complete the series sweep. The win gives Liberty Hill nine straight wins against the Bulldogs, dating back to the 2012-13 season.

Unlike the first matchup this season, where the Bulldogs gave Liberty Hill quite the scare in the opening minutes among a hostile Burnet crowd, the Panthers pounced on their opponent early and opened up with a 17-2 run.

“I thought we came out of the gates really strong,” Head Coach Chris Lange said. “Last time we played them, we were a little off for whatever reason. We didn’t execute very well. Today, we jumped on them early—a pretty good first quarter. The press was working.”

Lange said he and his team learned from the last Burnet game where the press wasn’t particularly effective, made adjustments, and brought that product in this game.

Shaylin Vickers, junior guard, was at the head of the press, orchestrating much of Liberty Hill’s first-quarter success. Vickers recorded a game-high eight assists, six of which she dished out in the first quarter alone.

“Shaylin is more or less the unsung hero right now,” Lange said. “If you watch what she does, her hands are so quick. And the girls were talking about it today on the bench how fast her hands are at getting up and getting tips. On the defensive side, she’s just phenomenal and I can let her just go. On the offensive side, she’s one of our leading assisters. She’s second on the team right now in assists. She’s averaging a little over three assists a game right now.”

Steals on three consecutive possessions by Liberty Hill—Bethany McLeod, junior guard; Madeline Cheney, senior guard; and Vickers all each had one—led to easy layups in transition during that 17-2 run.

After a three-pointer by Kandyn Faurie, junior forward, Sedona Prince, junior center, got in on the defensive action. Prince record both of her steals in the game on back-to-back possessions to add to the first quarter total.

With Burnet double- and triple-teaming Prince on the inside, Faurie took it upon herself to light up the gym in the first half.

“We were moving the ball well and Kandyn really got hot,” Lange said. “When she gets hot like that, you just have to kind of ride that. She took a lot of shots and they were going down tonight.”

Faurie scored 18 points in the first half, including two three-pointers. The junior finished the night with a game-high 26 points, despite playing limited minutes in the second half.

At halftime, the score was 46-9.

Burnet did continue to fight, and played better on defense in the second half than the last game, Lange said.

“When they started to do a 1-3-1 zone, and extended it up and started trapping—that was a little bit of a headache, but once we quit throwing the ball away, we were fine,” he added.

Liberty Hill adjusted to the defensive wrinkle thrown at them in the second half and everybody’s shots started dropping, not just Faurie and Prince.

“That is the luxury of having what I have here,” Lange said. “You saw there at the end, Kasye (Bevers) said ‘well, no one is guarding me, so’ and she shoots it and knocks it down. You know, when everybody is on, we are going to be tough to beat. That is the key though, staying confident with it.”

Bevers, junior guard, Elizabeth Buck, junior forward, Brittany Bramhall, senior guard, and Michaela De La Houssaye, senior guard, all recorded buckets in the second half off of the bench. The quartet orchestrated Lange’s offense and continued to build the lead in the second half.

The Lady Panthers had the night off Tuesday, but return to action this Friday, Jan. 27, against Taylor. Tip-off will be at 8 p.m.