Dodge City tops Liberal to open WAC play

Published: Jan. 16, 2021 at 12:14 AM CST
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DODGE CITY, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - The Dodge City Demons held off the Liberal Redskins 76 to 65 for their first Western Athletic Conference victory.

The game started differently than most this year.  Instead of Liberal getting to inbound the ball as the visitor, Dodge City went to the free-throw line.  During warmups, the officials called JJ Johnson-Lewis for a Technical Foul for a warmup procedure violation.  Dodge City made one of the free-throws and scored two points on the ensuing possession.

After a quick steal from the Demons’ Matt Freiss, Liberal fell into a 5 to 0 hole with only 30 seconds gone from the clock.  By the end of the quarter, the lead became 21 to 9.

Both teams scored 16 points in the second quarter.  Liberal played Dodge City tougher in the second half, even outscoring them 40 to 33.  It still was not enough to overcome the first-quarter deficit.

One other theme of the game was fouling.  The teams combined for 53, with two Dodge City players fouling out in the fourth quarter.  Five Liberal players accumulated four fouls each.

With the fouls came free throws.  Dodge City went 29 of 41 from behind the line.  Liberal shot 20 of 29.

“We got out of here learning some lessons without taking a loss,” said Dodge City Head Coach Shane Traughber.  “We had a great first quarter, but then we let off the gas.”

“I felt great from halfway in the second quarter through the end of the game but very discouraged with the first quarter,” said Traci Haskell, head coach of Liberal.  “I hope things start clicking with the team.  If we be more aggressive with our offense, we can go to the line more than we have in the past.”

Dodge City’s Matt Friess led all scorers with 21 points.  Dawson Taylor followed with 16 points.  Cooper Scheck contributed 14 points while Cooper Loll added 13.

For Liberal, AJ Ramirez led the scoring with 18 points.  Embry Williams added 15 points for the team.

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