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January 20th, 2021

aj ramirez passesdefenderAJ Ramirez dribbles by a Hays defender Friday night in the Big House. Ramirez scored 12 points, but the Redskins couldn’t keep pace with the defending Western Athletic Conferecne champion Hays Indians in a 72-45 loss. L&T photo/Earl WattBy EARL WATT

• Leader &Times

Liberal’s schedule certainly didn’t do them any favors when it came to the Western Athletic Conference.

The Redskins opened the WAC slate with back-to-back games against defending WAC champion Hays, and the Redskins dropped both games.

Friday, the Redskins fell to the Indians 72-45.

The Redskins were able to put three payers in double-digit scoring, but Liberal struggled to slow down the onslaught of shots form the Indians.

Liberal fell behind early when the Indians opened with a 7-2 lead, and Hays continued to outpace the Redskins to take a 15-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Liberal used three pointers form Malcolm Wiltshire and AJ Martine early in the second

quarter to keep the Redskins within striking distance trailing 20-12, but Hays stretched the lead to double digits with a three pointer from Jordan Dale, and the Indians pushed the lead to 17 with less than a minute to play in the first half. Ramirez put in a pair of free throws late in the half, and the Redskins trailed 34-18.

Hays connected on a three midway through the third quarter to push the lead to 20, 42-22, and another three game the Indians a 23-point lead.

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The Redskins answered with a three from Alex Lopez, and after a basket from Embry Williams followed by a three from Williams, the Redskins cut the lead to 47-30.

But Hays finished the quarter on a 7-0 run to push the lead back to 54-30.

Williams opened the fourth quarter with a three, but the Indians responded with a deep shot of their own, and the Redskins couldn’t cut into the Hays lead.

Hays finally topped a 30-point lead and enacted the running clock late in the fourth quarter, and the Redskins fell to 0-2 in the WAC with a 72-45 loss.

Williams led the Redskins with 13 points. Ramirez scored 12, and Lopez had 11.

“Our players did what we asked them to do,” Liberal coach Trace Haskell said. “They played hard, but that only gets you so far. You have to be skilled and better on the offensive end. We may have to create a more competitive atmos- phere at practice and not such a loose feeling. If they want to get better at the little things, then we have to be more competitive at practice.”

Haskell also wanted to see a better defensive effort.

“We didn’t start out all that intense,” he said. “There was a stretch we got after it and forced some turnovers. We have to execute all of those.”

Liberal (2-4) will look for the first WAC win of the season Tuesday in Garden City.

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