Missed free throws, turnovers and soft defense plagued the Lady Panthers on Friday night but the girls still pulled out a 45-35 win over the Wildcats in Richmond Hill.
Early on, it was all Liberty. The Lady Panthers took the lead and held it during the first half.
Tiara Howard pushed that lead to 16-9 with a layup in the second quarter. Richmond Hill took advantage of an ineffective press to make the score 16-13 going into the half.
Liberty Lady Panthers Head Coach Carolyn Kelly was unimpressed with her squad’s defensive pressure.
“We didn’t do a very good job on getting a trap off the press tonight. At times, because we didn’t get to the area where we were going to trap the ball, they were able to go straight through the trap and down the middle of the court. We didn’t even force them to reverse the ball so we could get a secondary trap,” Kelly said.
Liberty trailed early in the third quarter as Richmond Hill began to capitalize on the Lady Panthers’ errors. The lead changed hands several times in the third but Courtney Rhodes hit a pair of buckets in the final minute to give Liberty a 28-25 edge.
The Lady Panthers protected their lead throughout the fourth. Richmond Hill got within 4 points, but as time ran out they were forced to foul to get the ball back. Liberty was four-of-six from the charity stripe down the stretch to ice the game.
“We are really searching for some consistency right now. My two guards who handled the ball had a lot of turnovers tonight but both played well at the Christmas tournament. They are freshmen so they don’t have a lot of experience right now, but we will be all right,” Kelly said.
Kelly also cited some defensive woes the Lady Panthers are struggling with.
“We worked a lot of zone over the break, changing it up between a 2-1-2 and 2-3 and showing a combination with presses. We are not where we want to be with a man-to-man defense, though,” the coach said.
On Saturday night Liberty hosted McIntosh, who they beat earlier in the season.
“The first time you play a team like McIntosh you are not sure what type team they will have. We know they will be a different and better team this time so we have to be ready to play,” Kelly said.
LCHS 14 2 12 17-45
RH 7 6 12 10-35
Liberty top scorers: Precious Williams 13, Courtney Rhodes 10, Jasmina Smith 9, Tiara Howard 7, Catherine Scaggs 2, Bryonna Graham 2, Kimberly Payno 2
Richmond Hill top scorers: Ayliah Johnson 15, Tay Reynolds 6, Sydney Miller 5, Keisha Durham 4, Sarah Goolsby 3.