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Hurricanes continue to build

Thursday, January 11, 2018 by chuck hixson Special to the Press in Sports

As a young team, Liberty is taking a pretty good beating from their opponents this season, but it’s not all without development. While the Lady Hurricanes are 0-8 in the EPC and 0-11 overall, first-year coach Andy Wescoe is proud of the way that his players are responding.

Coaches often talk about how playing better teams give their players a good gauge as to how they’re developing and actually makes their team better even though they take their fair share of losses along the way.

After a recent 42-25 loss to Parkland, Wescoe was asked about the philosophy of scheduling games against tougher teams as a way of shaping up his players. The first-year coach believes that for right now, the EPC gives Liberty a good challenge with plenty of good teams on the schedule.

“From my perspective right now, our league and in particular, our division provides great competition. We see excellent competition two times a year from each of the teams in our division, but certainly as we grow and we feel we want to see people outside of our area because we’re at the point where we can talk about playoffs or states, we’ll look to find even better teams. Right now, we’re going to play the people that we have on our schedule and we’re going to play them to the best of our ability,” said Wescoe.

Playing to the best of their ability is something that Wescoe has preached since being named Liberty’s coach last May. He points to his players being able to control their effort and control the amount of work that they put into the game and believes he’s getting the right response from his players.

“We’re working hard, but we certainly have a lot of teaching to do. We’re really focused on – in a lot of our practices – player development and a lot of teaching, but in terms of the effort from the girls, I see growth there. I’m starting to see a little bit more understanding as far as things that we’re trying to do as a team, but we have a long way to go for sure,” explained Wescoe.

In facing Parkland, Liberty faced a team that not only has much more varsity experience than they have, but seemingly towers over them physically. The fact that Liberty was outsized didn’t stop the Hurricanes from battling for rebounds and being a thorn in Parkland’s side throughout the game.

Parkland coach Wes Spence was saluted by Wescoe for “calling off the dogs,” and playing many of his utility players in the game while still giving Liberty the test of facing a daunting zone defense that Parkland is known for playing. Considering how things went, Wescoe believes that his team gave a good showing and didn’t lack for effort.

“They have an understanding that without effort, we really have no chance. The effort has to be there and we can control that, and we have to be scrappy and all five people have to block-out and they’re starting to understand that,” pointed out Wescoe. “We saw some of that coming to fruition tonight where we were able to hold them off the boards a little better, but it’s not going to happen all the time giving up that much size.”

It also didn’t help that Liberty had three games in four days last week. In the last of those three games, the Lady Hurricanes fell by just one point in a 31-30 loss to Bangor (2-3 Colonial, 5-4 overall) again showing that the effort is there even through a tough stretch of the schedule.

As Wescoe pointed out, there’s plenty of competition on the way for Liberty. This week’s schedule has EPC games at Allen (2-2, 6-2) and Pocono Mountain East (1-4, 1-7) before home contests against North Pocono (1-1 Lackawanna Conference, 7-3 overall) and Easton (5-1, 8-2).