Ritchie County dominated Liberty offensively and defensively Tuesday night and cruised to an easy 56-23 win in Class AA, Region II, Section 1 girls basketball action at Robert C. Byrd High School.
Ritchie set the tone of the game early, taking a 14-2 first quarter lead.
"We wanted to make things happen early, and keep pressure on (Liberty)," Ritchie coach Terry Spangler said.
Ritchie County continued to roll in the second quarter. The Rebels scored 11 points in the quarter while yielding just five to lead 25-7 at intermission.
"We played well defensively tonight, and it kept us in the rhythm," coach Spangler said.
Liberty struck first in the third quarter, but would score only one more point in the quarter. Ritchie County managed 14 points and pushed its lead to 39-10.
"As the game went on we became more aggressive. We wanted to keep attacking in the second half," coach Spangler said.
With the game out of reach, Liberty put its highest total of points on the board at 13. The effort was valiant, but not enough to overcome the Rebels.
Ritchie County's offense was sparked by junior guard Missy Spangler, who scored 25 points.
"I started off slow tonight, and didn't feel comfortable early on in the game," Spangler said.
"As we ran the ball more, I started to warm up."
Lucinda Huffman added seven points and 10 rebounds for Ritchie.
Valerie Bramel led the Mountaineers with seven points.
"This was a great opportunity for us tonight. We were able to get a feel for the gym," coach Spangler said. "This gives us a lot of confidence heading into the championship game."
Ritchie County will face Lincoln on Thursday at Robert C. Byrd High School. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m.
"We can't afford to make as many mistakes as we did tonight against (Lincoln) and be able to compete," Spangler said. "I think we are peaking at the right time though. We are ready to play."