Liberal’s Deladirs Green receives a pass along the baseline Tuesday against Garden City in The Big House. Green scored 13, but coahc Scott Hinkle didn’t believe his team pushed the ball inside to Green and Cole Evans enough, and the redskins suffered their first loss of the seson in overtime, 57-52. L&T photo/Earl Watt
By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
Disappointment turned to hope and back to disappointment Tuesday after the Redskins overcame a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime only to give up a three-point lead in the extra period in a 57-52 loss.
Liberal trailed 42-33 with 6:29 to play after Garden City’s Demarcus Elliott hit a shot in the lane.
Liberal went on a 5-0 run with a basket by Deladris Green and another by Kylan Thomas, and after Thomas stole the Buffalo inbound pass, he was fouled and made one of two free throws to cut the lead to 42-38.
Devon McKee drained a three for the Buffs with 3:48 to play to push the lead back to seven, and Cade Hinkle answered with a three of his own to trim the lead back to four.
Elliott again had a wide open shot in the lane to give the Buffaloes a 47-41 lead with 3:04 to play. After another one-of-two performance at the free throw line for Thomas, Hinkle went to the line and made four free throws in the next two possessions while Garden City tried to melt the clock, and with 55.5 seconds to play, the Redskins were within one, 47-46.
McKee was fouled with 44.9 to go, and he made both free throws to give the Buffaloes a three-point lead.
But Hinkle made a move in the corner on the next possession and drained a three with 21.9 seconds to play, and the game was tied, 49-49.
Garden City missed a late shot, and the Redskins had a chance with 4.9 seconds to go for a game-winning basket, but the desperation shot missed, and the game went to overtime.
Liberal struck first with a basket by Thomas, and he followed on Liberal’s next possession with a free throw to give the Redskins a 52-49 lead with 3:37 to play.
Liberal’s defense forced another stop, but the Redskins came down and attempted a three-pointer that missed, and Garden City collected the rebound and raced to the basket. Austin Underwood was fouled, and he made both free throws to cut Liberal’s lead to 52-51 with 2:06 to play.
After another Liberal miss, Garden City’s Jarrod Spring made a basket with 43.2 seconds to play that gave the Buffaloes a 53-52 lead.
Liberal had chances to tie or take the lead, but the shots wouldn’t fall, and a late turnover forced the Redskins to foul with 10.4 seconds to play. Underwood only made one free throw, and another errant pass by the Redskins gave the Buffaloes the ball. Liberal fouled two more times but could not get a basket to fall, and after taking a three-point lead to start overtime, Liberal allowed eight straight points in a 57-52 loss.
“The responsibility falls on me,” Liberal coach Scott Hinkle said. “They feel horrible, but it’s one game out of 20. I haven’t put them in game situations like this at practice. That’s my fault. I have to put us in situations if we are up three with the ball, and it’s not to shoot three pointers. You hope to hit free throws. I need to do a better job of getting us in those positions and work on those on a weekly basis. I take full blame for that. It’s on me. I have to put them in a position to win, and I didn’t do that tonight.”
Cade Hinkle led the Redskins with 20 points including four threes, and Deladris Green had 13. Thomas scored 12. Only four Redskins scored on a night where the Redskins shot 38 percent. Thomas also struggled at the line, making four of 10 free throw attempts.
The loss snapped Liberal’s seven-game winning streak.
Liberal will head to Dodge City Friday.