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Liberal's free throws sink Panther girls
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Free throws key Liberal past Panthers


LIBERAL – The Great Bend girls discovered there is no defense for free throw shooting.

Liberal converted nine free throws in overtime to escape Great Bend 52-44 in a hard-fought Western Athletic basketball showdown. Liberal outscored the Panthers 9-1 in overtime. Liberal converted 22 of 31 free throws. The Redskins scored 17 of their final 19 points on free throws.

Panther standout Sadie Spray gave the Panthers leads of 40-37, 42-39 and 43-41 with late-game scores. But Liberal matched Spray with free throws by Hailey Contreras and Shamari Lewis.

Liberal’s Kamilah Delgado scored the tying rebound basket for a 43-43 tie with 13 seconds left in regulation. Delgado popped Panther Denver Ringo with an elbow that dropped Ringo to the court. Had it been a college basketball game, Delgado likely would’ve been whistled for a flagrant foul on instant replay.

The Panthers inbounded with 13 seconds left in regulation, but barely pushed the basketball to midcourt at time expired.

“I didn’t do a good job at the end,” said Great Bend coach Cindy Beck. “We didn’t pull it off. We’ve got to find a win those games.”

Liberal’s Lewis scored 21 points and Contreras scored 14 points. Contreras converted four free throws and Elle Hatcher made three fouls in overtime. Panther defensive standout Makenzie Premer hounded Contreras into a 3 of 18 shooting night. The Panthers limited the Redskins to 14 of 55 shooting (25%). Liberal scored one basket in the final 10 minutes.

“Defensively, the girls played extremely hard,” said Beck. “Kenzie did a terrific job on Contreras. But we put Liberal at the line too many times. It hurt us when we turned it over late in the game.”

The WAC’s best player Spray was brilliant with a 22-point outing and Emilee Hall added eight points. Spray’s teammates converted 9 of 40 field goals (22.5%).

Great Bend (10-5, 1-2 WAC) started with three league road games. The Panthers’ 44-point scoring total had been perfect for four victories this season.

Great Bend 4 16 12 11 1 – 44

Liberal 2 15 12 14 9 – 52

GREAT BEND (10-5, 1-2)—Spray 7-12 5-8 22, Thexton 0-5 0-2 0, McCauley 3-10 0-0 6, Hall 2-12 4-5 8, Premer 3-10 0-2 6, Ringo 1-3 0-0 2, Totals 16-52 9-17 44.

LIBERAL (11-4, 2-1)—Lewis 5-11 10-15 21, Contreras 3-18 7-7 14, Hatcher 0-2 3-4 3, Miller 0-0 0-2 0, Delgado 2-4 0-0 4, Rhine 2-12 2-3 6, Totals 14-55 22-31 52.

3-pointers—GB 3-9 (Spray 3-4, Hall 0-1, McCauley 0-4); L 2-13 (Lewis 1-3, Contreras 1-5, Rhine 0-5).