Runnin’ Panthers down Lampasas Badgers for win

Sophomore Bryce Truslow puts up a layup in Liberty Hill’s win over Salado in the district opener last Friday. (Alex Rubio Photo)

Sophomore Bryce Truslow puts up a layup in Liberty Hill’s win over Salado in the district opener last Friday.
(Alex Rubio Photo)

By Lauren Jette

After making some adjustments in the first quarter, the Runnin’ Panthers rolled to a 72-44 win over Lampasas at home Tuesday night.

The freshman team beat the Badgers 46-28, while the junior varsity won 69-52.

The varsity Badgers got the first possession, but missed the shot. Aedan Welch came down with the rebound, and then was fouled on the shot attempt at the other end of the court to give the Panthers the first points of the game.

Lampasas answered with a basket to tie the game. Trey Jenkins got the foul on the way to the basket to put Liberty Hill up 4-2, but Lampasas answered with a three to take the 5-4 lead.

Coach Barry Boren called for a timeout to make some adjustments off the Badgers defense.

“They came out and set the pace of play a little slower than we like to play,” he said.

Welch was fouled again on the next possession and drained two free throws to put the Panthers back up 6-5.

The Badgers would hang on and tie the game up again at 10 with three minutes left in the first quarter, and take the lead again with two straight baskets, before Welch cut the lead to one point. Then, Josh Sudekum’s basket put the Panthers out front again for good.

A three-point shot from Carson Lowe as time expired gave the Panthers the 18-16 lead heading into the second quarter.

To start the second quarter, the Panthers went off on an 11-0 run for the first five minutes, spurred by a long basket from Slater Foust in the first minute of the quarter.

At the half, Liberty Hill held on to a 35-25 lead.

The Panthers opened the third quarter with a steal and layup by Sudekum.

Foust hit a three to increase the lead to 42-27 halfway through the quarter.

With 10 seconds left on the clock, Brady Lochte put up an open basket after the steal to make the score 53-33.

The Badgers opened the final eight minutes with a three, but Foust answered with his second three pointer of the night.

With a 21-point lead in hand, Boren put his bench in. Bryce Truslow hit two free throws, Tucker McMullan scored on a layup, and Clayton Kuhlmann got a basket and three free throws.

Conner Lowe came off the bench and hit a three with 20 seconds left to increase the lead.

“It was good to get some of the guys off the bench and get them some playing time,” Boren said.

“I told them in the locker room (after the game) that they are doing things people didn’t expect from them after Zach (Lord) got hurt. They are making plays normal guys don’t make.”

Foust was happy with the win and the way the Panthers played Tuesday night.

“I think we did really well. We scored a lot, held them to 44 points,” he said.

“We expected to have a really good game and we did. The first half and second half we did our thing and pushed forward.”

Foust, who the Panthers look to as a defensive specialist, said hitting those three-point shots “felt great, especially on my birthday.”

In the district opener against Salado last Friday, the varsity Panthers defeated the Eagles 89-58. The junior varsity won 66-33, and the freshman team won 53-27.

In the varsity game, Salado opened with a three-point shot, but Welch made the basket and ensuing free throw to tie the game and scored 9 of the Panthers’ first 11 points, as Liberty Hill jumped out to the 11-6 lead.

Carson Lowe hit a three to put the Panthers in double digits, while the Eagles were held scoreless in the last three minutes of the quarter.

Lowe hit another three to put the Panthers up 33-13 with five and a half minutes left in the half.

Tucker McMullan hit two free throws to give the Panthers a 48-21 lead at the half.

Liberty Hill will face off against the Bulldogs in Burnet Friday night. The Bulldogs lost their district opener to Taylor and are 6-8 overall.

The Panthers are 2-0 in district and 18-7 overall.

“They are our rivals, so it’s going to be intense, but I feel like we’re going to come out with a ‘w’,” Foust said.