July 17th, 2019

katiedrive01Liberal’s Katie Horyna goes strong to the basket against Hays Friday night in Hays. Horyna scored 12 points to help the No. 2 Lady Redskins complete a seaosn sweep of the Hays Lady Indians, 44-34. L&T photo/Earl WattBy EARL WATT

  • • Leader & Times

HAYS — Whitney Hay drained three three pointers in the second half to help the Lady Redskins build a 30-point lead, and with a running clock and reserves playing most of the fourth quarter, the Class 6A No. 2 Lady Redskins coasted to a 55-34 win over the Hay Lady Indians.

Hay ended the night with 13 points to lead a balanced scoring effort for Liberal. Machia Mullens and Katie Horyna each scored 12, and Aubrey Warden and Reagan Watt each scored eight.

Mullens dominated early, scoring the first seven points of the game, and four other Lady Redskins scored in the first quarter, including Watt (four points), Horyna (two points), Hay (two points) and Warden (two points), and the Lady Redskins had a 17-2 lead.

Horyna took control in the second quarter, scoring Liberal’s first five points in the period followed by four form Warden and a pair of free throws from Hay, and the Lady Redskins had a 28-10 lead at the half.

Warden and Mullens hit shots in the paint early in the second half, and Hay dropped two threes midway through the third quarter, and the Lady Redskins had a 38-15 lead.

Mullens stretched the lead to 41-15 after making a basket while being fouled, and by the end of the third quarter, the Lady Redskins had a 45-19 lead.

Hay put the Lady Redskins one point away from the running clock rule after starting the fourth with another three to push Liberal’s lead to 48-19, but three straight free throws allowed the Lady Indians to avoid the running clock.

At least for a while.

Horyna drained a three with 5:48 to play to push Liberal’s lead to 51-22, nd after another Hays free throw, Watt knocked down a shot in the lane that enacted the 30-point running clock rule, 53-23.

Liberal coach Carter Kruger made massive substitutions for the final five minutes, and the Lady Indians were able to put together a 9-0 run to cut Liberal’s lead to 55-32, but Liberal’s Shatarika Ross hit a driving shot in the lane for Liberal’s final points, and the Lady Redskins moved to 15-0 with a 55-34 win.

“I was really proud of our toughtness and energy,” Kruger said. “We did a great job being dialed in on the scouting report,. I can’t draw up the first quarter much better than the way we played and defended.”

Thursday’s icy conditions caused the game with Dodge City to be delayed until Saturday, and Kruger believed that kep fresh legs for the Lady Redskins against the Lady Indians.

“It was ok except for not being able to practice yesterday,” Kruger said. “You would rather play on a Saturday and hopefully get the same type of effort we did tonight.”

With the huge lead, Kruger was able to get playing time for a host of Lady Redskins. For Kruger, that helps him build confidence in some of the younger players.

“They will need that experience coming back here,” he said. “This is one of the tougher gyms we will play in all year long. Hays loves their basketball. The kids came off the bench and played well. We had a few too many turnovers, but that is nit picky after a solid performance.”

And Kruger was pleased with his team going hard to the glass to win the rebounding battle.

“More than other games, our kids were tough on the glass,” Kruger said. “Hays was going to try to rip that ball out of our hands like their life depended on it, and in a way it did (in the WAC race). Thankfully we controlled the boards.

Sitting at 15-0, the Lady Redskins hosted Dodge City late Saturday with a perfect 4-0 Western Athletic Conference record, but did Kruger believe his team was in a good spot?

“I feel good,” he said. “Our team is coming together. We are stepping up and playing really good basketball. When we defend like we are capable, which we didn’t against Guymon, we are tough to score on, and I think our players are hungry.”

In the end, the Lady Redskins were able to enact the running clock for the third time in WAC games, and Kruger said that says something about a team.

“You never plan on that, but it’s exciting when that happens,” Kruger said. “It’s almost like a payoff. You look at the kids and can say, ‘We played a pretty good game when the clock is running.’”

After hosting Dodge City Saturday, the Lady Redskins will host Cimarron Tuesday before celebrating homecoming Saturday, Feb. 16 against Great Bend.

The Lady Redskins will go on the road Monday, Feb. 18 for a make-up game against Dodge City, and they will complete the regular season at home Tuesday, Feb. 19 against Garden City.

Sub-State pairing will be determined after that, and currently the Lady Redskins are sitting in a tie for the top seed with Derby.

Liberal is expected to host the Sub-State tournament with the winner of the four-team draw qualifying for state.

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