The Abilene Cowgirls opened the S.I.T., against Liberal, Thursday night at Salina South Middle School. Liberal used a full court press and Abilene never had an answer for it. Liberal used the press to score the first 21 points of the game on their way to a 62-31 victory.
In the second quarter Liberal did back off the press and the Cowgirls took advantage to briefly get back in the game. Abi Lillard started a 14-0 run that bridged the end of the first quarter and start of the second. She hit a three-pointer, in the final seconds of the opening quarter, to cut the Liberal lead to 26-5. She then capped the run with another three-pointer, at the 4:04 mark of the first half, to make the score 26-16. Liberal had lead by as many as 24 points in the opening quarter. They brought back out the press and built the lead back to 35-19 by halftime.
Liberal was dominant in the third quarter as they scored the first 13 points of the quarter and took a 50-22 advantage in the fourth. There was a running clock for most of the final quarter, as Liberal went on to the 31 point victory.
Liberal improved to 7-2 with the victory. They entered the tournament as defending champions and have one of the most dominant programs in the state over the last three years. Last season they were 23-0 and didn’t get a chance to play for a state title because of the pandemic. They were led in scoring, Thursday night, by Ashley Carillo, who finished with a game-high 17 points against the Cowgirls.
Abilene fell to 1-6 with the loss. They were led in scoring by Abi Lillard, who finished with 12 points. The Cowgirls will now face Buhler, the Lady Crusaders lost to Salina South 38-20 Thursday night. Abilene will play Buhler at 5 pm Thursday night, at Salina South Middle School. Liberal will play Salina South, at 5 PM, at South High School.