MUNCIE — Despite having control of the floor for a vast majority of the game, Liberty Christian crumbled in the final minutes to give Muncie Burris a 56-53 win Thursday.
The Lions notched their 11th straight loss Thursday night thanks to the inability to hit big shots and run a shutdown defense.
“We can’t hit free throws when it matters,” Hill said. “We can’t get a stop when it matters. They are just not mentally tough enough to handle some of this. It is frustrating.”
The Lions shot 20-of-60 from the field and 11-of-26 from the free-throw line. This ended up costing Liberty Christian the contest
Although, Liberty Christian did not grab a victory, senior Elena Tufts dominated the paint and the scoresheet. Tufts dropped 30 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, with 13 of them coming from the first half alone.
“I feel like I performed pretty well, and I used my size to my advantage in this game,” Tufts said. “I have finally started to step up a little bit. I feel like a leader to the team.”
Tufts has continued to put up big numbers as of late, but a lack of depth looms over the Lions, which proves to be the difference maker between a win and a loss. Seven of the Lions’ losses came after leading by at least four points in the final two minutes. The inability to seize victory in close matchups has been the story all season.
“She is our best player by far,” Hill said of Tufts. “She is our go-to. We try to force the ball down to her. The other players have to step up. She can’t do it by herself, and we have yet to put a game together where all five girls on the floor make a stop and put the ball in the hole.”
When it all came down to the final minutes, there was no stopping Burris sophomore Emily Adamowicz. Adamowicz scored 39 points, with 26 of them coming in the second half. Liberty Christian’s defense collapsed, and she was able to secure a win for Burris.
“Our defense is terrible,” Hill said. “They had one girl that was exceptional. We knew that coming in. All we asked them to do is get a stop. They couldn’t get a stop.”
“Our team needs to focus on defense,” Tufts said. “Communication when we are on defense is a big thing that we are not doing.”
Hill also said there is not much more he can do, and his team needs to get over the hump of losing games in order to find the win column again this season.
The Lions (2-16) face off against Indiana Math & Science on Jan. 21.