Basketball: Liberty girls top visiting Prestonwood

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ARGYLE — Rebekah Hand had made one clutch shot after another for Liberty Christian on Tuesday. So it was no surprise to see the ball in her hands with time winding down and a chance to beat the top team in TAPPS Class 5A District 1.

The sophomore standout drilled a wide-open 3-pointer with exactly one minute left in the game, then hit two free throws in the closing seconds to preserve a dramatic come-from-behind 52-49 win over previously unbeaten Plano Prestonwood Christian.

“On the free throws, all I was thinking was don’t get too scared and just do what I always do in practice,” Hand said. “On the 3, I got open thanks to my teammates and just took the shot. We really wanted to win this game and finish off the rest of the season strong.”

Prestonwood (15-8, 7-1 district) came in ranked third in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches large private school poll. The No. 6 Lady Warriors (18-8, 5-3 in district) were the fourth-place team in the district and in need of a momentum builder.

They got that courtesy of Hand, who finished with 23 points and four 3-pointers. Hannah Hand added 12 points for the Lady Warriors, who eked out the win despite the Lady Lions finishing with four players in double figures. Mariah Fluellen led Prestonwood with 14 points.

Liberty Christian — which trailed by four points after the first quarter and hadn’t made up any ground by halftime — held the Lady Lions to 17 points in the second half. After cutting the deficit to two heading into the fourth quarter, the Lady Warriors continued their comeback.

Rebekah Hand kicked off the quarter with a 3-pointer, which was part of a 7-5 run that tied the game at 45. The lead changed hands three times before Hand delivered again from long distance.

The Lady Lions had cut the deficit to one point with 29 seconds left only to foul Hand on Liberty’s next possession. She made both free throws with 12 seconds left. Prestonwood had two chances at a game-tying 3-pointer but couldn’t convert.

“Rebekah and Hannah both are fierce competitors, and all our girls know to get them the ball if they are open,” Liberty Christian coach Ken Burroughs said. “I’m so proud of all the girls. They work hard, and to see them reap the benefits feels good.”

Boys

Plano Prestonwood 60, Liberty Christian 42

Liberty Christian dropped its sixth 5A District 1 game on Tuesday with a lopsided loss to Plano Prestonwood Christian.

The Warriors (9-17, 1-6) led by one point at halftime over the Lions — ranked No. 1 in the TABC large private school poll — but were outscored 38-19 in the second half. The Lions (26-2, 7-0) led by seven after three quarters but scored 22 points in the fourth.

“We needed to come out and make a statement in the second half and instead we came out flat,” Liberty Christian coach Frank Kornet said. “Once we got behind like we did, it was hard to come back.”

D.J. McGee led the Lions with 16 points, while Evan Peters and Daniel Tate added 14 and 11 points, respectively. Tate kick-started Plano Prestonwood’s strong fourth quarter with three straight 3-pointers to start the frame. The surge gave the Lions a 16-point lead, their largest of the game at the time.

Liberty Christian got 15 points from Grier Newlan and 14 from Stephen Ugochukwu.

Liberty Christian 52, Plano Prestonwood 49

Liberty Christian

17

11

10

14

52

Plano Prestonwood

21

11

8

9

49

Liberty Christian (18-8, 5-3) — Rebekah Hand 23, Hannah Hand 12, Emily Earley 2, Alexis Abbott 6, Rachel Rainwater 7, Kendall Ellig 2.

Plano Prestonwood Christian (15-8, 7-1) — Alicia Blackwell 11, Marina Muenster 12, Brooke Alexander 10, Mariah Fluellen 14, Addie Garcia 2.

Plano Prestonwood 60, Liberty Christian 42

Liberty Christian

11

12

8

11

42

Plano Prestonwood

13

9

16

22

60

Liberty Christian (9-17, 1-6) — Grier Newlan 15, Stephen Ugochukwu 14, Nick Decello 3, Jacob Link 3, Taylor McCarley 3, Tyson Harvey 1, Mark Slack 3.

Plano Prestonwood Christian (26-2, 7-0) — D.J. McGee 16, Evan Peters 14, Chris Stephens 7, Jacob Mathes 2, Daniel Tate 11, Schnider Herard 8, Andrew Hazelip 2


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