Liberty-Eylau tops Gorman to win tourney


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Bishop Gorman's Susannah Williams (25) looks for an opening to pass the ball around Liberty-Eylau's Chelsea Colbert (12) during the championship game at the Macy Chenevert Patriot Holiday Tournament on Saturday afternoon. (Shannon Wilson | Tyler Morning Telegraph)
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Bishop Gorman's Michelle Obach (5) tries to get around Liberty-Eylau's Sharde Collins (15) during the championship game at the Macy Chenevert Patriot Holiday Tournament on Saturday afternoon. (Shannon Wilson | Tyler Morning Telegraph)
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Bishop Gorman's Danielle Smith (33) attempts to block a shot made by Liberty-Eylau's Morgan Utsey (23) during the championship game at the Macy Chenevert Patriot Holiday Tournament on Saturday afternoon. (Shannon Wilson | Tyler Morning Telegraph)
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Bishop Gorman's Michelle Obach (5) attempts a shot while Liberty-Eylau's Alize Peague (33) and Lauren Godfrey (35) attempt to block during the championship game at the Macy Chenevert Patriot Holiday Tournament on Saturday afternoon. (Shannon Wilson | Tyler Morning Telegraph)
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Liberty-Eylau wins the championship trophy after the championship game against Bishop Gorman at the Macy Chenevert Patriot Holiday Tournament on Saturday afternoon. (Shannon Wilson | Tyler Morning Telegraph)
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Liberty-Eylau doesn’t have the depth to run its full-court pressure for four quarters, so coach Robert Cochran picks his moments.

After trailing at halftime, Cochran unleashed his team on Bishop Gorman.

The result was a tide-changing quarter in which the Lady Crusaders turned the ball over on their first six possessions and the Lady Leopards capitalized en route to a 69-55 victory in the final of the Macy Chenevert Patriot Holiday Tournament on Saturday at UT Tyler’s Herrington Patriot Center.

Gorman (17-3) turned the ball over 10 times in the third quarter, more than the other three quarters combined (nine). Liberty-Eylau (14-3) scored 16 straight points to start the second half to take a 44-32 lead midway through the quarter and take control.

“We normally pressure the entire game from the word go; we’re not deep enough to do that right now,” Cochran said. “We didn’t press much in the first half at all, trying to save ourselves for the second half; that was our game plan going in.

“We played well in spurts in the first half but I thought the entire second half we probably played our best basketball game and that’s the way we’re going to have to play to get where we want to go. That’s probably our best 16 minutes of basketball that we’ve played probably in a couple years.”

The Lady Crusaders lost 72-61 to the Lady Leopards on Nov. 27 in a game L-E used its press early and held on late. After the Lady Leopards blitz at the start of the second half Saturday, Gorman never closed the gap to fewer than eight points.

“It just killed us,” TKG coach Katie Robertson said of the press. “It’s what happened to us the last time we played them but in the first quarter.”

Future Division I players Imani Wright (Baylor) and Sharde Collins (Arkansas-Little Rock) led the way for the Lady Leopards. Wright had game-highs of 28 points, six steals and two blocks in addition to six boards and two assists.

Collins finished with 19 points and eight rebounds while slowing down Goman’s Division II-bound Michelle Obach.

“Sharde’s, if not the best, one of the best defensive players I’ve coached,” Cochran said. “She takes it as a challenge and … what she did in the second half on (Obach) … really allowed our pressure to take over.”

Obach still finished with a team-high 22 points, 10 coming in the fourth quarter as she tried to will the Lady Crusaders back into the game.

“We’ve played the quote-unquote six or seven Division I guards and she’s by far the best,” Cochran said. “We played in the Metroplex and we played in Shreveport. She’s the best individual guard with respects to the high school game. She’s just a great basketball player.”

Brooke Lee added 12 points, four steals and three assists for the Lady Crusaders before fouling out with 2:23 to play. Danielle Smith chipped in nine points and 10 rebounds.

Obach and Susannah Williams (nine points, seven rebounds) were named to the All-Tournament team from Gorman along with Wright, Collins and Liberty-Eylau’s Lauren Godfrey (eight rebounds).

Gorman trailed by seven entering the second quarter but scored nine straight over 1:43 late in the period to go into halftime ahead 32-28.

After the break, things unraveled quickly for the Lady Crusaders. Wright opened with a jumper, then snagged a steal that led to a layup to tie the game. A minute later Morgan Utsey converted on a TKG turnover to give Liberty-Eylau the lead for good. Wright scored 12 points before Obach drove to the basket for two for Gorman’s first points of the second half.

“Their personnel, they just have so much size over us,” Robertson said. “Mentally we got out of the game a little bit; maybe we just got a little too confident with what we did in the second quarter.”

“It humbles us and makes us realize how much harder we have to work and do things to make sure we do it right.”

———

Macy Chenevert Patriot Holiday Tournament

At UT Tyler’s Herrington Patriot Center

Championship Game

Liberty-Eylau 69, Bishop Gorman 55

Liberty-Eylau 16 12 23 18 — 69

Gorman 9 23 9 14 — 55

LIBERTY-EYLAU — Jazmyne Jackson, 2; Sharde Collins, 19; Imani Wright, 28; Morgan Utsey, 12; Alize Peague, 5; Lauren Godfrey, 3. FG: 27-62. FT: 12-17.

GORMAN — Brooke Lee, 12; Allie Buzbee, 3; Michelle Obach, 22; Susannah Williams, 9; Danielle Smith, 9. FG: 17-43. FT: 16-23.

THREE POINT GOALS — LE (3-11): Collins, Wright (2). BG (5-12): Lee (3), Buzbee, Smith.

RECORDS — Liberty-Eylau 14-3; Gorman 17-3.

NEXT UP — Liberty-Eylau at Martins Mill, noon Wednesday; Neches at Gorman, 1 p.m. Wednesday.

———

Macy Chenevert Patriot Holiday Tournament

At UT Tyler’s Herrington Patriot Center

December 27-29

Thursday’s Games

Game 1: Robert E. Lee 47, Kilgore 33

Game 2: Lindale 68, Mineola 49

Game 3: Pleasant Grove 56, Grace Community 35

Game 4: Pine Tree 53, Henderson 37

Game 5: John Tyler 48, Wills Point 36

Game 6: Longview 59, Hallsville 48

Game 7: Bishop Gorman 63, Robert E. Lee 43

Game 8: Liberty-Eylau 62, Longview 45

Game 9: Wills Point 50, Henderson 41

Game 10: Mineola 62, Grace 34

Friday’s Games

Game 11: Lindale 83, Pleasant Grove 64

Game 12: John Tyler 60, Pine Tree 48

Game 13: Mineola 69, Kilgore 60

Game 14: Hallsville 50, Wills Point 46

Game 15: Lee 35, Pine Tree 23

Game 16: Longview 55, Pleasant Grove 36

Game 17: Henderson 52, Grace 49

Game 18: Gorman 66, Lindale 46

Game 19: Liberty-Eylau 60, John Tyler 53

Game 20: Wills Point 50, Kilgore 46

Saturday’s Games

Game 21, Fifth-Place Game: Canceled

Game 22, Consolation Final: Mineola67, Hallsville 54

Game 23, Third-Place Game: Canceled

Game 24, Championship: Liberty-Eylau 69, Bishop Gorman 55