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Basketball: Liberty takes title at Denton Summer Shootout

08:42 AM CDT on Monday, July 20, 2009

By Matthew Muench/Staff Writer

ARGYLE — Liberty Christian’s summer league coach Richard Scofield knew the Warriors were going to be up against some stiff competition during the Denton Summer Shootout.

Richard Scofield

The Warriors, a team comprised of all Liberty Christian students, had to go up against select teams from all over the region that were pretty much all-star teams from their cities.

On Sunday the Warriors proved that playing as a team is better than playing against top individuals as they won first place in the small school bracket.

Liberty beat the Lubbock Mustangs, 54-45, and finished the tournament with a 5-1 record, a large trophy to hold and gold medals to wear.

“I expected us to compete as hard as possible,” Scofield said. “A lot of times when you are playing against select teams and you are a high school team it is a difficult situation. But these tournaments really prepare them down the road.”

Scofield said in events like the Shootout, it is rare for a high school team to win the tournament against select teams.

In fact, the Warriors are the first team to accomplish that feat during the tournament’s 10-year history.

“It doesn’t happen often,” he said. “It is a feather in their cap.”

The Warriors never trailed in the second half and hit clutch free throws down the stretch to pull away.

“The boys came out and played really, really hard,” Richard Scofield said. “We had a lot of ups and downs, but we fought through them. We made the shots when we had to. We made the plays that we needed to.”

Junior point guard Christian Scofield paced the Warriors with 16 points.

“This is a great feeling,” he said. “We work well together. No one is selfish at all and we just work really hard.”

He said he never had a doubt that Liberty could win the tournament.

“The teams we faced were good,” he said. “But we never really thought the teams were better than us. We knew if we all stayed together and did our jobwe would be fine.”

Lady Raiders finish third

The Lady Raiders, a team comprised of all Ryan high school basketball players, failed to repeat as champions of the Denton Summer Shootout in the girls 11th and 12th grade big school bracket.

Ryan won its first four games before losing to the Killer Bees, a team from Stephenville.

Monesha Allen, who coaches Ryan’s girls high school team during the regular season, said she enjoyed watching the Lady Raiders this weekend.

“I got to see who is still working hard in the gym,” she said. “And I got to see how they are handling their strengths and their weaknesses. It was good for me to evaluate and get a feel for what we need to work on to be ready next season.”

The Lady Raiders won their third place game against the Lady Indians (Tuscola) by way of a forfeit.

Ryan had already beaten them earlier in the tournament but Allen wished the Lady Raiders could have played again.

“The kids always want to play,” she said. “They are very competitive and they would have liked to get on the floor again.”

Ponder finishes third

Like Liberty Christian, Ponder’s high school squad played as a team during the Denton Summer Shootout.

DRC/Gary Payne Ponder’s Scott Gregg (25) drives to the basket past Dominique Forsheen of the Tulsa Hustlers during the Denton Summer Shootout on Saturday at in Argyle.

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But the Lions didn’t have quite the success as the Warriors.

Ponder finished in third place of the top school bracket after beating Ardmore (Okla.), 60-55 a few hours after losing to eventual champion San Antonio Elite in the semifinals.

“We played all right,” said Ponder post Scott Gregg, who has been a staple on Ponder’s last two Class 2A state championship teams. “We should have and could have played a lot better.”

Ponder finished 4-1 during the tourney and placed in the top three of the tournament for the first time since it began playing in the Denton Summer Shootout.

Argyle coach enjoys event

Argyle head coach John King had a busy weekend as he not only got to watch the Eagles play in the DSS, but he also had to help run the event.

Argyle’s three gyms were one of nine schools that the tournament was played in “From a coaches point of view it is great to see other teams from other states,” he said. “It gives a chance to see good competition that we don’t normally see.”

The Eagles reached the championship bracket after going 3-1 in pool play. They lost in the first round of bracket play.

“It is good for me to watch the kids grow and mature,” King said. “It gives me a chance to see who is doing what they are supposed to do in the summer and to see who is doing what they are not supposed to do in the summer. I’m not allowed to coach them, but it gave me a great chance to evaluate them.”

Pilot Point, Krum struggle

Pilot Point and Krum had difficult runs in the Denton Summer Shootout. The Bobcats went 0-4 and Pilot Point went 1-5 with its last loss coming in the third-place game in the losers’ bracket.

San Antonio team captures top honor

It is all in the name for a team from San Antonio.

The Elite were just that during the tournament as they went undefeated and dominated the Tulsa Hustlers, 55-41 in the championship game of the big school bracket.

The Elite never trailed in the game and it had four players score in double figures led by guard Justin Whitaker and Reese Dahse. Both players knocked down two 3-pointers each and the pair combined to score 32 of the Elite’s 55 points.

MATTHEW MUENCH can be reached at 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is mmuench@dentonrc.com .