GOOD LUCK
REDSKINS
liberalfirstlongoriginal
Thursday
April 18th, 2019

brodydribblingBrody Sumner looks to dribble by Hays Indian Tradgon McCrae Frday night in Hays. After falling behind 1705, the Redskins battled back to cut the lead to four but couldn’t get any closer in a 59-54 loss. L&T photo/Earl WattBy EARL WATT

  • • Leader & Times

HAYS — Liberal fell behind early in Hays and almost battled all the way back, but the early deficit proved to be too much to overcome, and the Redskins dropped a Western Athletic Conference game to the Indians, 59-54.

Liberal allowed four three pointers in the first quarter including two from Tradgon McCrae that came from six feet behind the three point line, and Brody Sumner was Liberal’s only offense in the first period, connecting on a jumper and a three pointer, and Liberal trailed 17-5.

Liberal’s defense adjusted to the deep shots, and the Indians only managed eight points in the second quarter.

But the Redskins couldn’t cut into the lead, only scoring eight points of their own, and the Redskins trailed 25-13 at half.

The Redskins opened the second half on an 8-0 run including threes from Jordan Mendoza and Braxton Hyde, and after a Hyde shot in the lane, Liberal cut the Hays lead to four, 25-21.

Liberal had a chance to cut the lead to one with a three-point shot from the corner, but the shot missed, and Hays responded with a 5-0 run to push the lead back to nine, 30-21.

The lead stayed at nine until early in the fourth quarter when back-to-back threes from Mendoza and Sumner cut the lead to 36-31 before another strong run by the Indians pushed the lead back to 12, 48-36 with 2:11 to play.

But Liberal coach Ryan Petty wouldn’t throw in the towel, and the Redskins forced the Indians to try to protect their lead at the free throw line.

And thats exactly what Hays had to do in the fourth quarter, making 21 of 27 attempts in the period, and the Redskins made nine of 11 of their own free throw attempts to go along with three three pointers, and the Redskins were able to end the game on a 16-9 run to cut the final margin to only five for Hays, 59-54.

Liberal ended the night with 11 three pointers, with six of those in the fourth quarter and five in the game from Sumner who led the Redskins in scoring with 19 points.

Mendoza ended the night with 13.

“We warned the guys after the long bus ride that we needed to come out ready to play,” Petty said. “We didn’t get rebounds early. They got that big lead, and we fought to come back all night.”

Hays provided full court pressure most of the night, but it had little effect on the Redskins.

“We broke their press really good, but we weren’t running anything on offense after that,” Petty said. “We got it down to four and got some stops. We had a chance with a three.”

Petty said the Redskins put themselves back in the game with an 8-0 run to start the third, but disaster struck at the end of the period.

“We come out with a big run in the third, get it to four, and late in the quarter we were down seven,” Petty said. “We want to hold it to the last shot of the third, but we turn it over, foul with one second in the period, and we are down by nine.”

Still, the Redskins fought back.

“I love the fight from the guys,” Petty said. “They battled all night long.”

Liberal will have little time to think about the loss with Saturday’s game against Dodge City.

“They will pressure a lot more than Hays,” Petty said. “We can’t go forcing shots. The size of Hays really hurt us. We took contested shots. We won’t have to deal with that size for a while.”

And the Redskins will need to keep hitting from outside to be competitive.

“Threes kept us in the game,” Petty said. “The length of Hays bothered us. We had a hard time getting the ball to the rim. They were worried about that, and they went man because we executed in the second half,. Zone defense gave us some gaps and we knocked some shots down. We got open looks in the second half and made them.”

But rebounding early evaded the Redskins.

“When you don’t do that you give them extra possessions,” Petty said. “They hit some tought shots, too. But six of those first 15 were second chance points.”

But Petty said Liberal is close.

“We were right there,” Petty said. “A lot of 50-50 balls didn’t go our way.”

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