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Despite another strong Lee Hatcher finish, Liberal rally falls short 55-45 PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 09 December 2017 10:58

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Ethan Hatcher attempts a shot against the Hereford defense Friday in the Big House. The Hereford defense caused Liberal to struggle offensively, but Liberal rallied in the final period before falling 55-45 to drop to 1-2 on the season. 

L&T photo/Earl Watt

By EARL WATT

• Leader & Times

For the second straight game, Liberal entered the fourth quarter facing a large deficit, and for the second straight game, Lee Hatcher saved his best for last. But despite his eight points in the fourth quarter, Liberal dug too deep of a hole early, and the Redskins fell to the Hereford whitefaces, 55-45 Friday in the Big House.

Cameron Riley scored a quick basket to start the game, and it appeared Liberal would have opportunities against the Herd’s defense.

But those chances went away quickly when Hereford played in-your-face defense, playing a full court press the entire game and making the Redskins work for every pass.

With the stiff defense in the face of the guard, the Redskins struggled to set up offense, and the Herd turned turnovers into points to take a 12-5 lead in the first quarter.

Hereford continued to pressure the Redskins in the second period, and the results were the same — Liberal had no easy looks at the basket.

The redskins only scored seven points in the second quarter, and five of those came form the free throw line.

Hereford built a double-digit lead, and the Redskins were abel to cut the lead to 10, 22-12 at half.

Hereford’s only drawback in the first half was foul trouble, but the replacements continued to keep the pace and the pressure with the starters on the bench to start the second half.

Liberal was again held to single digits in the quarter while the Herd extended its lead to 36-20.

Of the eight points scored by the Redskins in the third quarter, Lee hatcher had five of them, and Hatcher continued to spark the Redskins in the fourth.

The Redskins cut the Hereford lead back to 10, and at one point the Redskins had a chance to cut it to eight when Lee Hatcher sent a three-point shot that went halfway down the bucket before kicking back out.

Hereford stretched the lead back to 16 with an inside basket and a three pointer, and the Redskins again tried to rally with time running out.

Riley gave the Redskins hope with two three-point shots that almost came from half court, and Lee Hatcher scored eight points in the quarter, and the Redskins scored more in the final period than the first three combined, erupting for 25 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the large deficit, and the Redskins fell 55-45.

“Hereford is rolling,” Liberal coach Ryan Petty said. “They lost the first two games and have won 10 in a row.”

For Liberal, this was just the third game of the season.

“Hereford came ready to play,” Petty said. “They jumped on us early. They love to pressure. We threw the ball all over the court, 15 turnovers in the first half, 10 more in the second. They took us out of our comfort zone. We had a tough time running any sets. It was a tough night for us.”

Hereford’s pressure disrupted Liberal’s ability to run its offense, and that led to poor shot selection at times.

“We had the hardest time getting the ball across half court,” Petty said. “They wanted to speed us up, and they were successful doing that. It was tough all night to run any kind of offense. We had some open looks and didn’t knock them down. It just wasn’t our night.”

Hatcher led Liberal with 16 points. Riley scored 14.

“Lee is instant offense,” Petty said. “He gets open looks because of Cameron Riley. He draws the best defender, and that opens it up for Lee.”


 

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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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