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Decatur knocks off No. 6 Liberty Hill in first round of Whataburger Tournament

By Reece Waddell | Published Thursday, December 27, 2018.
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Last year’s Whataburger Tournament did not go how the Decatur Eagles planned.

Decatur went 0-4 over the course of the three-day event, finishing 16th out of 16th teams in the blue division. Ever since, the Eagles have been itching to get back.

Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

“Last year we came over here [and were] a little disappointed in ourselves,” said Decatur coach Drew Coffman. “We definitely want to prove something to ourselves than anything else.”

Thursday afternoon, the Eagles did just that.

Decatur made quick work of Liberty Hill — the No. 6 team in Class 4A and top-ranked 4A team in the tournament — knocking off the Panthers 57-37 at Chisholm Trail High School in the opening round of the Whataburger Tournament.

“We have a chip on our shoulder after going 0-4,” said Decatur senior Wilson Hicks. “A lot of people know it. It’s not very fun playing in a last place game like we did last year. It was good to come out and get a win.”

Four Eagles finished in double figures in the victory. Izek Chavana and Gage Rieger each had 12. Wilson Hicks had 11, scoring seven in the first quarter.

Ethan Southard finished four rebounds shy of a double-double, posting 10 points and six boards.

“It’s hard over here, especially with the caliber of teams you’re playing, for everyone to play four really good games in a row,” Coffman said. “You’re going to have different guys step up at different times. I think it’s a luxury we have, having multiple guys who can score the ball. Today was kind of an example of that.”

Hicks helped Decatur start the game on a 7-0 run, allowing the Eagles to build a quick lead. The Eagles held Liberty Hill to just 17 first-half points.

Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

The Panthers shot under 30 percent from beyond the arc after making 16 three-pointers in their last game — an 83-52 win over Waco Robinson.

“They can really shoot the ball,” Coffman said. “I kind of thought [holding them under 30 percent from 3] was a huge factor in us winning. I was really proud of our defensive effort.”

Liberty Hill managed just 20 points in the second half and eight in the final frame.

The Eagles led by as much as 23 in the fourth quarter, taking a 55-32 lead after a layup by Southard and backdoor cut from Grayson Harris to Carson Tibbels.

Decatur improved to 17-2 overall with the victory. The Eagles have won five straight and will play the winner of Brock and Levelland Friday at 11 a.m.

“I thought it was a good opening day for us,” Coffman said. “Their coach has won over 700 games and their program is historically very good .Any time you beat a team of that caliber with a coach of that caliber, you have to be really proud of what you did.”

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