TYLER --   Different place. Same result.

The Liberty-Eylau Lady Leopards defeated Tyler T.K. Gorman 69-55 in Saturday's championship game of the Macy Chenevert Patriot Holiday Tournament at the Herrington Patriot Center at UT Tyler.

It was the second time Liberty-Eylau (14-3), ranked No. 12 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 3A poll, had beaten Gorman this year, after knocking off the Lady Crusaders 72-61 on November 27.

Gorman could not answer the Liberty-Eylau duo of Imani Wright and Sharde Collins. The Baylor-bound Wright tallied 28 points, five rebounds, and three steals, while University of Arkansas-Little Rock signee Collins added 19 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore Morgan Ussey hadh 12 points and three steals.

Gorman (17-3), ranked No. 3 among TABC large private schools, was led by Michelle Obach's 22 points and four assists. The Merrimack (Mass.) College signee was 8 of 10 from the free-throw line. Brooke Lee knocked down 12 points, including three triples, four rebounds, and three steals. Susannah Williams and Danielle Smith combined for 18 points, 17 rebounds, and five steals.

Liberty-Eylau's Lauren Godfrey, Collins, and Wright made the all-tournament team, with Wright garnering MVP honors. Obach and Williams were selected all-tournamentfor Gorman.

"We played probably our best 16 minutes of basketball in the last few years in the second half," said Liberty-Eylau coach Robert Cochran. "But Gorman is a good team, they won't roll over and play dead. (Gorman) took over the second quarter. We wanted to get through the first half close, then start the third with our pressure. We normally press for the entire game, but we aren't deep enough right now. We thought we could change the game with our pressure and obviously that helped us separate from them."

Down four to start the second half, Liberty-Eylau exploded for 23 third-quarter points, fueled by a 16-0 run. Wright sank a mid-range jumper, followed by a steal and a reverse layup to tie it at 32. Another steal by Wright, who was hacked going to the hole for the and-1, made it 36-32 L-E. Collins grabbed an offensive rebound and putback, then Wright drained a three-pointer, and it was 44-32 before Gorman could blink.

Obach kept the Lady Crusaders close. She had a hard drive to the basket for two, then nailed two free throws after a hard foul to keep Gorman within eight, 44-36, at the 3:09 mark in the third. After a Collins jumper, Lee drained a three off an Obach dish, and Gorman was with seven, 46-39. The Lady Crusaders wouldn't get any closer.

"(Liberty-Eylau) is just such a great team, and we were really outmatched," said Gorman Katie Robertson. "I really believed with effort and execution we could come out on top, but they got on fire, and there wasn't much we could do to stop it."

After Liberty-Eylau was up 16-9 after one, Gorman put together an impressive second quarter. Lee opened with a triple, then knocked down another from an Obach assist, to get within four, 22-18. Allie Buzbee connected from behind the arc, followed by an Obach layup in transition and the teams were tied 26-26.

Collins answered with bucket in traffic, weaving through the defense. But Lee found Williams under the hoop for the score, then got a steal and fastbreak layup, and Gorman finished the first half on a 9-2 run to lead 32-28 at the intermission.

Both teams play Wednesday. T.K. Gorman faces Neches at home, while Liberty-Eylau travels to Martin's Mill.


Macy Chenevert Patriot Holiday All-Tournament Team

  • Imani Wright, Liberty-Eylau  (MVP)
  • Lauren Godfrey, Liberty-Eylau
  • Sharde Collins, Liberty-Eylau
  • Susannah Williams, Tyler T.K. Gorman
  • Michelle Obach, Tyler T.K. Gorman
  • Shabrea Mitchell, Hallsville
  • Sister Green, Mineola
  • Sky Holmes, Pine Tree


Consolation championship: Mineola 67, Hallsville 54