It was a clash of the titans on the night of Jan. 4 in the Liberty Christian School gymnasium.
The 12-time defending TAPPS 5A state champion Bishop Lynch girls basketball team came to Argyle in what promised to be an old-fashioned slug fest.
Liberty, which had won two of the last four state championships at the 4A level, had just moved up to 5A and was already making it’s presence felt with a 21-2 start in its first 23 games.
The Lady Warriors knew they would have their hands full, but managed to keep it close until the third quarter.
That’s when Liberty went on a 19-9 point run and pulled away to defeat the Lady Friars 63-54.
“That was great to be able to play against somebody who has such a good reputation,” Liberty senior Cameron Gannon said. “It was kind of a struggle in the first half, but we came back in the second half and kind of cleaned things up. I am really looking forward to playing them again.”
Burroughs attributes the success Liberty has had in recent years to a couple of factors.
“I just feel like we are fortunate enough to have talented players that love to play the game and are willing to work and get better,” Burroughs said. “We’ve been blessed with good kids that have really good work ethics.”
Burroughs said, while expectations are high for the Lady Warriors year in and year out these days, if the team does not make a deep run into the post-season, it is not the end of the world.
“No season is a disappointment,” Burroughs said. “I feel blessed to be able to work with these girls. They love each other and the love the Lord. When you combine those things, it’s just going to be fun no matter how you do.”
Burroughs said, of all of the qualities his players bring to the table, their ability to get along and support each other are what most impress him and have likely contributed most to the team’s success.
“When you have teammates that really care about each other more than the game itself, and you have that great team chemistry, that’s just huge,” Burroughs said. “It doesn’t happen all the time. When you can combine chemistry with great talent, it just makes your chances to be very successful that much better.”
Burroughs said, for his team to make another run deep into the post-season, it will definitely take one thing more than anything else.
“The biggest thing is health,” Burroughs said. “We just have to stay healthy, and we’ve kind of battled with that. We’ve lost two girls to ACL’s, one before the season ever started and one seven games in, and that really hurt.
“We’ve had other injuries, but we keep overcoming them and playing through it, and I think that is what it is going to take.”
Summer Fife has been a big part of the Lady Warrior’s success this season, and the Liberty Senior said there are a couple of things that make this team special for her.
“No one’s selfish on our team,” Fife said. “No one is jealous. Everyone is happy for everyone else’s success. It makes playing so much fun. We go out there and have a ball every time we play, whether we are winning or losing.”
Cameron Gannon said the injuries have definitely plagued her team this season, but said she believes her teammates have adapted well.
“We only have six players right now that can play,” Gannon said. “I think now more than ever, we really have to pull together and play with who we have available and be prepared to grind out the rest of the season.”
Liberty junior Nicole Kornet said she is proud of what the team has achieved, and said it really starts from the top down at Liberty Christian School.
“The way that we carry ourselves as a team and our coach is always telling us to represent Liberty well,” Kornet said. “We really take it to heart. We have devotionals before every game, and we always talk about the way we carry ourselves. We are always building each other up, and I think that is different than most other teams.”