By EARL WATT
• Daily Leader
Raphael Akpejiori proved why he was a Div. I prospect.
The 6-foot, 9-inch senior put 23 points, dominated the glass, and dropped three dunks to lead Sunrise over the Redskns, 55-41.
Liberal struggled with the aize and speed of the Buffaloes Saturday night in the Big House.
While Akpejiori dominated the paint for 23 points, point guard Leon Cooper streaked down the floor and racked up 15 points on cuts to the basket and breakaway lay-ups.
Tyson Deaton was given the assignment of stopping Akpejiori, and while he was able to deny a number of passes by defelcting the ball to his teammates, lob passes over Deaton’s head were caught by Akpejiori which led to easy bank shots.
After trialing by 13 at half, the Redskins cut the lead to eight after a Jade Cathey three-pointer..
But that is as close os Liberal would get.
Cathey ended the game with 17 points. Kowan Russell scored nine.
“Sunrise is a good team,” Liberal coach Drew Gruver said. “We didn’t do a good job of getting (Akpejiori) fronted. They had way too many offensive boards. We were prepared, I just think we were scared. We thought we were ready to play, but we were scared. When something didn’t work, it just got a little worse. When we attacked it worked pretty well. I thought toward the end we weren’t playing hard. You have to play hard no matter what the score is.
Liberal still has three regular seaosn games, and Gruver expected the team to finsih the seaosn strong and head to Sub-State.
“We have to get back on track,” he said.