‘Toughness’ key for Lady Redskins Print
Tuesday, 23 January 2018 11:29


• Leader & Times

The Lady Redskins faced a tough competitor Saturday when they faced the Salina Central Lady Mustangs in the Salina Invitational Tournament championship.

But the Lady Redskins proved to be a little tougher, building a 16-point lead and then holding on late after a strong Central rally came up four points short.

“The winners will be the toughest players against the toughest opponent,” Liberal’s Katie Horyna said. “We had to be the toughest team today.”

altHoryna not only led the Lady Redskins in the championship game with 16 points, but she also scrambled for loose balls, helped create turnovers and earned the tournament MVP honor.

Liberal coach Carter Kruger said the Horyna’s honor was earned.

“Katie is blossoming into a heck of a player,” he said. “She is competitive, she fights for everything, she works hard and is only scratching the surface. She can really shoot the ball. She might be every bit as good as any point guard in the state. She will be a D1 point guard for sure.”

Joining Horyna on the All tournament team was Ali Lucero, who also expected toughness to come into play.

“We knew this team was good,” she said of the Lady Mustangs. “We would have to be tough. It would be a fourth quarter game.”

And it was. Central, virtually playing a home game, never quit despite trailing by 16 in the fourth quarter, and they took advantage of seven missed free throws by the Lady Redskins late to make a run.

But Lucero has also developed in the past year, and she has been able to add some toughness to her game.

“The program has changed,” she said. “Me personally, I was not the player last year that I am now. I have worked hard to be better this year.”

And that enthusiasm has translated into a 10-1 record and a No. 5 ranking. 

“We brought so much energy, and came together as a team,” Lucero said. “This whole season we have.”

Being able to grit out a tournament championship win against a ranked opponent battling through foul trouble, and fending off a run,  that could all pay off in the long run, according to Kruger.

I am really proud of our kids,” he said. “We overcame a lot of adversity in that game. The effort they put forward for each other — if they keep playing like that, we have some big things in front of us.