The Liberty girls basketball team got in early foul trouble, had some tough luck on its shots and was down by 10 points at halftime to the top-ranked 5A team in the state. But Liberty coach Ross Reedy had no doubt that his team would get back in the game Wednesday in the 5A state title game at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
“I am not surprised that we were back in the game,” Reedy said. “I wasn’t surprised to be right back in the mix there late in the game because our kids have shown that fight time in and time out over the course of the last several years.”
Liberty is tough to put away, and that proved true against Cedar Park on Wednesday night. The Redhawks battled back to cut the lead to one point in the fourth quarter before Cedar Park won 46-39.
Liberty, which excelled in close games over the last three seasons as it made three straight trips to the state tournament, cut Cedar Park’s lead to 34-33 when Jazzy Owens-Barnett grabbed a rebound and drove the length of the court for a layup with 3:37 left. After a Cedar Park basket, Liberty’s Lily Ziemkiewicz drove for a layup that cut the lead back to one point.
Cedar Park (25-1), which had blown out all of its previous playoff opponents by at least 21 points, then had one final push to win its first state title.
Liberty finished the season with a 22-9 record, battling through a tough early-season schedule and then the tough competition of their Frisco ISD counterparts in District 9-5A.
It’s been an amazing run for the Redhawks, who were the state runner-up in 2019 and the state champion last year.
“I’ve never met a group of kids so willing to just fight for each other all the time,” Owens-Barnett said. “Our willingness to play for each other has brought us this far and I’m sure it will do the same again.”