EARL WATT • Leader & Times
Freshman James Fieser gave the Redskin Nation hope for the future with another standout game, but the Redskins continued to fall short of a victory and extended the season’s losing streak to 16 after falling to the Western Athletic Conference champion Garden City Buffaloes 74-50 Tuesday in The Big House.
The two teams couldn’t be headed in more opposite directions. Garden City sits at 19-1 atop the Class 6A West Division standings while the Redskins are 2-17 and sit in last place in the Class 6A standings.
Liberal would need a win Thursday over Dodge City to even have an outside chance of making the Class 6A playoffs.
But players like junior Zayden Martinez and freshman Feiser continue to provide hope for the future. The two combined for all of Liberal’s points in the first quarter against Garden City Friday, but the inability to stop the fast break offense of the Buffaloes left Liberal trailing 32-11 after the first quarter.
Several Redskins were able to score in the second quarter, but it wasn’t enough to trim into the Buffalo lead, and by halftime the Redskins trailed 48-22.
Garden City was on pace to score in the 90s, but the Redskin defense only allowed the Buffaloes to add a single point to their lead in the third quarter, and Garden City led 66-39 heading into the final quarter.
The Redskins fought off the running clock until the final four minutes when Garden City reached a 30-point lead for only one possession before the Redskins cut the lead back to 28, but the clock continued to run the rest of the way, and the Redskins won the period but lost the game, 74-50.
Fieser led the Redskins with 23 points, and Martinez added 13.
“We did a much better job in the second and third quarters,” Liberal coach Keenan Thompson said. “It was really that first quarter we were back on our heels waiting for somebody else to make a play or a stop. Garden will take advantage of that. No one was willing to be the guy to end that. We turned it up in the second and third quarters, but it’s hard to generate much after a quarter like that.
The damage was done early when the Buffaloes put 32 points on the board in the first quarter.
“The third quarter we played tougher on defense,” Thompson said. “We were executing the offensive game plan. First half they were getting transition and second chance points. It comes back to that first quarter where we let them push us around.”