Mackenzie Buss

Lake Dallas junior Mackenzie Buss scored 14 points Wednesday against Liberty Christian.

Over the past couple of weeks, the Lake Dallas girls basketball team caught fire to begin each of its games before proceeding to cruise to lopsided victories against District 6-5A foes Denton, Colleyville Heritage and Northwest.

Wednesday morning’s non-district game for the Lady Falcons against Argyle Liberty Christian had a completely different feel.

In a battle of state-ranked teams, Liberty Christian, No. 3 in TAPPS Class 6A, was a little stronger with the ball and used a big third quarter to rally from a three-point halftime deficit to take down Lake Dallas, No. 21 in UIL 5A, 57-50.

Liberty Christian (9-2) came out firing, scoring the game’s first five points before stretching the lead to 12-4 after a 3-pointer by Emma Kay Martin with exactly two minutes left in the first quarter.

The game was a little sloppy at the onset on both ends as the teams combined for 13 first-quarter turnovers, including seven by Lake Dallas (11-5).

The Lady Falcons had just four points through the game’s first six minutes, but they proceeded to break down the Lady Warriors’ matchup zone defense with better success, including an alley-oop between juniors Mackenzie Buss and Jorja Elliott that Elliott finished at the basket for a layup with no time remaining.

Elliott’s buzzer-beater cut the deficit to 12-8.

Lake Dallas fed off Elliott’s field goal.

The Lady Falcons took two separate leads of three points in the second quarter, the second of which came on a play between junior Bailey Broughton and sophomore Altyn Bartley. Bartley converted a layup off a pin-point pass from Broughton to give Lake Dallas a 25-22 advantage with 2:41 left in the half.

Sophomore Camryn Richardson played a crucial role in an 18-point second quarter for Lake Dallas, scoring 10 of her 13 points during that frame. Elliott scored 17 points to pace the Lady Falcons. Buss chipped in 14 points.

Lake Dallas clung to a 26-25 halftime lead.

But, the Lady Falcons had few answers for Lady Warriors junior Jadyn Fife. Fife, who helped to lead Liberty Christian to the TAPPS 6A state title in volleyball in November, was in championship form Wednesday. She led all scorers with 24 points, including nine points in a 20-point third quarter for the Lady Warriors.

Fife scored six straight points after Lake Dallas junior Allie Buchanan sank a pair of free throws to give Liberty Christian a 31-28 lead.

Lauren Ullrich buried a 3-pointer just before time expired in the third quarter to give the Lady Warriors a 10-point lead, then Liberty Christian survived a late flurry by Lake Dallas to hang on for the seven-point victory.

The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for Lake Dallas. The Lady Falcons looked to get back into the win column at 11:30 am. Saturday at Birdville (1-8). Lake Dallas’ next game is scheduled for Tuesday at 5-6A co-leader Grapevine (10-3). Both teams are undefeated in 6-5A.

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