LONGVIEW, Texas—Liberty-Eylau, coming off its District 14-4A championship, draws Mabank for the second straight year in the bi-district round of the girls basketball playoffs.
The Lady Leopards (21-11) and Lady Panthers clash at 6 p.m. Today as the opener of a doubleheader at Spring Hill's Panther Gym. Pleasant Grove and Van play the second game.
"We played Mabank early in the year and won by 23, but I'm sure they've gotten a lot better since then," Liberty-Eylau head coach Aquanetta Watson said. "They've got a really good point guard, who runs the show for them and creates open shots.
"They're pretty young, but what they do they do well."
Last year, when Mabank eliminated L-E, 62-33, the Panthers were district champions and the Leopards were a 4-seed. This year the roles are reversed.
Liberty-Eylau went 9-1 in district play, winning its final five games after a loss to Pleasant Grove to end the first half of league play.
In the starting lineup will be point guard Eliyah Howard and shooting guards Kaliyah Thompson and Taylor Crabtree. Derrica Henderson and Keeley Norris start at the posts.
Contributing off the bench for the Leopards will be guards Aaliyah Thompson, Kayla Norris, Danielle Thompson and Skylier Bailey. The backup forwards include Amoyia Gentry, Daycoria Meadows and Mycah Hurd.
"I don't expect to beat them by 23; everybody in the playoffs is here for a reason," Watson said. "Every team has a clean slate; we're all 0-0. I want to see my team start off strong.
"Over the past 10 district games, we haven't had a problem of showing up; our girls have been there in every game. I want us to play really good team defense and start off strong, and if we can do that I think the score will be in our favor at the end of the night."
The L-E and Mabank winner will play either Gilmer or Carthage in the area round later this week.