EARL WATT • Leader & Times
Keyona Hall has put her signature on this year’s Lady Redskins basketball team including a game-winning three pointer in overtime in Guymon. Tuesday, she continued to show her value to the program by dropping 21 points against Garden City in a 53-35 win the helped secure a share of the Western Athletic Conference title.
Rylie Hallman had the early hot hand for the Lady Redskins that helped Liberal jump out to a quick lead. Hallman scored nine points in the first quarter including drives to the basket and several rebounds, and the Redskins had a 22-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
But the scoring slowed down in the second quarter, and the Lady Redskins only managed to score nine points.
But the Lady Redskins defense prevented Garden City from form mounting a serious comeback even though the Lady Buffaloes chipped away at the Liberal lead.
By halftime, the Lady Redskins had a 31-17 lead.
But that quickly changed in the third quarter when the Lady Redskins came out hot and quickly added to the lead. Halle West, Hallman and Hall all had threes in the period, and the Lady Redskins outpaced the Lady Buffs 18-11 in the quarter to take a 49-28 lead.
But the Lady Redskins suffered a loss in the third quarter when West came off the court and had to get checked in the trainer’s room.
With West unavailable, the Lady Redskins were short a scoring threat and a solid defender.
But the Lady Redskins continued to build the lead in the fourth quarter, and midway through the final period the Lady Redskins reached a 30-point lead which enacted the running clock.
The Lady Redskins only allowed seven points in the period, and most of those came after Liberal coach Brandi Fowler emptied the bench, and the Lady Redskins cruised to the 63-35 win gave the Lady Redskins a one-game lead in the Western Athletic Conference with one game to play, and the Lady Redskins also secured the Bo. 2 seed in the Class 6A West Division for Sub-State pairings.
Hall led the Lady Redskins with 21 points. Hallman also had a career high with 17 points, and Hailey Contreras added 11.
“Our defensive presence was sound tonight,” Fowler said. “We had some really good traps that kept then from getting their offense going early, and our team defense turned in to a lot of offense.”
Most important was the condition of Hall after a hard contact play in a game that became physical.
“We think she will be ok,” Fowler said. “She’s catching shirts with her left hand in the Rowdy Crowd, that’s a good sign. We will monitor and make sure she’s ok. We are having a light practice (Wednesday), so that should be a chance for her to recover.”
Without Hall, Liberal continued to get the ball into the hands of multiple players.
“We do a very good job of sharing the ball,” Fowler said. “And we are waiting for the best shot for our team. Just because we are open doesn’t mean it’s the best shot, and the girls really take pride in that.”
Liberal will now host Dodge City for the outright WAC title Thursday after only scoring a season-low 29 points in a 32-29 loss earlier this season.
“We know their zone got us,” Fowler said. “We didn’t play our best. Dodge is a very good team. Coach Snodgrass does a good job. They will try to slow us down and we like to play fast. It’s going to be a battle.”
And Liberal has found ways to score against the zone since then.
“We noticed we were not getting to the free throw line,” Fowler said. “That was something we lacked in that game and a couple games against the zone. We bit the bullet and said if everyone wants to play us in the zone we will have to have a better zone offense, and that’s what we’ve done.”