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Dre’una Edwards dominates, sends Liberty girls to state championship game

RENO — Dre’una Edwards joked after Thursday’s game that had she known she was on pace to break the record for most points in a girls state tournament game, she would have fought harder to play the fourth quarter.

She may not have hit the record of 42 points, but the Patriots will take what they got from her.

Edwards commanded the first half, scoring 26 of her game-high 28 points, and the Patriots made quick work of McQueen with a 71-33 rout in the Class 4A state semifinals at Lawlor Events Center.

Liberty (31-2) will play Centennial (28-3) in the state title game at 6:10 p.m. Friday at Lawlor.

“I made my shots, got to see the court, got my players open, played defense and did everything on the offensive end,” Edwards said. “We love being able to play on the court and bring the intensity.”

Edwards missed her first four shots, then didn’t do a whole lot of missing after that, connecting on 11 of her next 14 attempts. She scored seemingly at will, multiple times collecting a McQueen rebound and going coast-to-coast with a layup. At one point she scored nine points in a row as part of a 20-2 run in the second quarter.

She finished with 11 rebounds, four blocks and three assists.

“The girls were giving her the ball, and she was going to work,” Liberty coach Chad Kapanui said.

As good as Edwards was, it’s not crazy to think the Patriots would have won without her. Teammate Rae Burrell had 20 points and eight rebounds, and nine Patriots scored in a game where they held the Lancers (18-10) to 10-for-47 (21 percent) shooting.

They also scored the game’s first 14 points on the way to the biggest margin of victory in a state tournament game in school history.

“It’s always good when a team is playing together and obviously putting up points like that to dominate the game,” Kapanui said. “If the team is playing well, it’s hard to stop us.”

As an added bonus, had Liberty lost, the Patriots would have bussed back to Henderson on Thursday night. With the win, they’re guaranteed to stay in Reno until Saturday, a fact Kapanui made sure was not lost on his players.

“I was like, if you want to stay in Reno, you better make sure we win,” Kapanui said. “The girls went out there focused, ready to go, and we just have to do it one more day.”

Contact Justin Emerson at jemerson@reviewjournal.com or (702) 387-2944. Follow @J15Emerson on Twitter.

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