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Another Redskin lead slips in 2nd half PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 23 February 2018 09:28

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Liberal’s Tristen Bigham jumps for a shot against Dodge City Thursday. Bigham scored 16 points, and after building a 10-point lead, Liberal faltered in the second half and fell 73-63. L&T photo/Earl Watt

By EARL WATT

• Leader & Times

DODGE CITY — It’s been a familiar theme all season long. Liberal takes a lead in the first half only to see it disappear in the second.

It happened again Thursday in Dodge City, where a 10-point lead for the Redskins was erased and ended in a 10-point loss, 73-63.

The Redskins built a 34-24 lead after Kace Vongsokda scored his 13th point of the first half, and by halftime the Redskins still had a 34-26 advantage.

But Dodge City chipped away in the third quarter, and the Redskins saw their lead cut to three, 45-42.

The Red Demons quickly tied the game early in the fourth and built a 53-49 lead with 5:30 to play.

But the Redskins battled back and regained the lead 59-58 after a Vongsokda basket with 3:27 to play.

The lead switched back and forth three more times until Dodge City’s Luke Gleason hit a three with 2:01 to play, and Dodge City had a two-point lead, 63-61.

The Redskins went ice cold, missing shot after shot, and Dodge City finished by knocking down 10 free throws in the final two minutes. Ethan Hatcher scored Liberal’s final basket of the regular season with 4.9 seconds to play, and the Redskins fell 73-63.

Vongsokda scored 32 points for the Redskins, and Tristen Bigham had 16.

“We did a much better job of taking better shots in the first half,” Liberal coach Ryan Petty said. “We got to the rim, and we couldn’t finish. That came back to bite us in the third and fourth. We left a lot of points out there. We didn’t play very good in the second half. They shot 32 free throws, we shot nine.”

The Redskins didn’t get the needed defensive stops late.

“The effort was pretty good,” Petty said. “We do some silly things, break down defensively, get tired and have some metal errors, but they played hard. We didn’t get enough stops. We were trading buckets. We got up one in the fourth quarter, and they hit a three — that was a dagger.”

In the end, winning or losing didn’t affect Sub-State seedings. Liberal (8-12) was locked in as the 12th seed and will play either Salina Central (13-6) or Topeka West (13-6) on the road Tuesday.

Liberal has to find a way to hold the lead. In six of the last seven losses, Liberal led in the second half.

“We aren’t done yet,” Petty said. “It would be easy to roll over. We can’t quit. We have to keep battling, keep fighting. We will put some shots up tomorrow and prepare. We can play with anybody, I believe that.”

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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