GOOD LUCK
REDSKINS
liberalfirstlongoriginal
Friday
December 14th, 2018

hydejumpshotBraxton?hyde gets above the Holcomb defense for a basket in the third quarter Friday night in the Big House. .Hyde and the Redskins rallied form nine down to earn a 64-55 win L&T photo/Earl WattBy EARL WATT

Leader & Times

After a season where the Liberal Redskins watched leads fade away late, they reversed the trend to start this year with a 64-55 come-from-behind win against the Holcomb Longhorns.

The trade-off was the Redskins didn’t have the strongest start while Holcomb was red hot from outside.

The Longhorns nailed six of nine three-point attempts in the first half, and that helped them build a 21-12 lead in the second quarter.

But the Redskins responded with a 10-0 run to take a short-lived 22-21 lead before Holcomb responded with another three-point shot, and by halftime the Longhorns had a 29-26 lead.

But the Redskins continued to chip away in the third quarter including three-point buckets from Hunter Hatcher and Jordan Mendoza, and after tying up the Longhorns a 31, the Redskins continued to outpace the Longhorns in the third quarter to take a 44-40 lead.

But the Longhorns continued to battle and kept the game to two possessions for most of the fourth quarter, and several times had it down to a one-possession game.

But free throws hurt Holcomb. The longhorns went one of eight from the free throw line in the second half.

The Redskins, however, took advantage of their free-throw attempts, hitting 11 off 15 attempts in the second half, many of those late in the fourth quarter when Holcomb started fouling to try to make up the deficit.

But Lee Hatcher took over late, forcing turnovers and getting baskets in transition, scoring 10 of his game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter including four of five free throw attempts, and Mendoza knocked down a fourth-quarter three to keep the Longhorns chasing the Redskins.

The Redskins started to protect the lead with about three minuted to play, forcing Holcomb to foul, and the strong free throw shooting allowed the Redskins to protect their lead and come away with the 64-55 win.

“I was real impressed with how we finished down the stretch. We had a big run at the end of the third, we were down by a point, and we went on a 5-0 run. We have to finish games, and we did a nice job in the fourth quarter, making free throws and running clock to secure the win.

“We talked at half that we were in the same position last year,” Liberal coach Ryan Petty said. “We wanted to flip the script, and that’s what we did coming out of halftime. They had a lot of trouble guarding our ball screen offense. We knocked down enough open shots to get the win.”

But the Redskins had to weather the early stampede form outside.

“We were happy how we played in the first half,” Petty said. “We knew they couldn’t continue to make those shots. We had to take away the wide open shots, then we forced some stops in the second half and take a lead in the fourth quarter and hold on.”

Lee Hatcher led the Redskins with 18 points. Mendoza scored 15 points including three threes, and Hunter Hatcher had 11 that also included three threes.

Petty was concerned about where the pints would come from heading in to the season, but the redskins responded with three player sin double digits, and Israel Avalos had eight.

The Redskins also held their own on the boards.

“I thought we did a good job rebounding,” Petty said. “I think we will get a lot of open jump shots this year. We knocked them down tonight against a good defensive team.”

Liberal will take the momentum of the opening win and travel to Guymon Tuesday to face the Tigers in a place that has been tough for Liberal, but the come-form-behind win against Holcomb could be an early catalyst for Liberal. 

“When you are in a close game, it’s tough to change that mind set,” Petty said. “We didn’t make plays last year. After tonight, we want this to snowball, to make plays down the stretch and win games like this. It’s tough to play in Guymon. It would be easy with three games coming up next weekend to overlook Guymon. We can’t do that.”

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