Area bas­ket­ball play­offs be­gin

L-E looks for re­venge vs. Kil­gore

Texarkana Gazette - - SPORTS - By Earl Gill

MAR­SHALL, Texas—The third sea­son is here for Lib­erty-Ey­lau on the hard­wood.

The Lady Leop­ards (1811) take on Kil­gore (15-8) at 7 tonight in the Class 4A bi-dis­trict round of the bas­ket­ball play­offs at Or­nelas Gym on the cam­pus of East Texas Baptist Uni­ver­sity.

“I’ve stressed to our girls all sea­son about this mo­ment,” Lib­erty-Ey­lau head coach Aquanetta Wat­son said. “I told there are three sea­sons dur­ing the course of the year: the pre­sea­son, dis­trict play and the play­offs. We’ve been hav­ing some re­ally good prac­tices and I think they’re ready.

“We played a re­ally tough pre­sea­son sched­ule to pre­pare our­selves for the play­offs. Ev­ery­one is 0-0 and ready to show off what they have. Noth­ing else mat­ters but what we do go­ing for­ward.”

The Leop­ards fell to the Lady Bull­dogs ear­lier this sea­son, 42-35, but L-E has caught its stride as of late, win­ning three out of its last five games to end the sea­son.

Wat­son also be­lieves her squad has found its iden­tity through­out the sea­son and she will con­tinue to use her strat­egy of sub­sti­tut­ing in waves dur­ing the play­offs.

“There are cer­tain points in the game where I’ll sub­sti­tute like that,” Wat­son said. “When we’re try­ing to put pres­sure on the de­fense or force a turnover is when I

will sub­sti­tute in waves. It keeps the girls fresh and it also keeps them en­er­gized. It’s worked a lot for us this sea­son, so we have to keep go­ing with what has brought us to this point. “

The Leop­ards are at full strength now, which will be an­other key com­po­nent in the re­match with Kil­gore.

“Ear­lier this sea­son when we played, we were miss­ing two starters”, Wat­son said. “I think we’ve got­ten bet­ter as a team and more ma­ture. I think a team’s ma­tu­rity helps get­ting bet­ter with bas­ket­ball. Play­ing them once this sea­son and see­ing what they have, hope­fully will work to our ad­van­tage the se­cond time around.”

The win­ner will face ei­ther Can­ton or Caddo Mills in the area round.

Staff photo by Hunt Mercier

■ Lady Tigers' Amiya Rone jumps in for a layup while be­ing guarded by the Lady Wild­cats on Feb. 5at Texas High School.

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