"Our bench came up huge for us tonight," said Purdy coach Tommy Egan. "The starters struggled to hit shots and Brent (Cornman), Cameron (Terry) and Glen (Scott) came in and gave us a huge lift."
Both squads had trouble finishing on the offensive end in the first period. Liberal led 11-10 after one quarter of play.
"I was extremely pleased with Brent's play," said Egan. "I put a lot of faith in him that he could contribute valuable minutes, and tonight, he rewarded my belief in him."
The Eagles outscored Liberal 16 to 7 in the second period to lead 26-18 at intermission.
Liberal cut the Purdy lead to one-point twice (38-37 and 40-39) in the final eight minutes. Two Hall free throws, a basket by Terry and six free throws held off the Bulldogs down the stretch.
"We kept defending all night," said Egan. "The boys earned this victory."
Scoring for Purdy were: Terry, 12; Williams, 9; Cornman and Devon Bennett 7; Hall, 5; Scott, 4; and Alex Haworth and Garen Nelson, 3 each.
Familiar foes will square off in the district championship on Friday. This will make the fourth time this season that Wheaton and Purdy have tangled.
The Bulldogs routed Greenfield 82-51 in the first semi-final of the evening. Wheaton's Sean Goosetree led the Bulldogs in scoring with 23 points.
Egan, who is in his second year at the helm of the Eagles, is 0-7 lifetime against Wheaton
"We (Egan and Wheaton head coach Rusty Roe) know each other so well," said Egan. "There are no secrets. We know what each other is going to try to do. We have just got to execute our game plan in order to achieve victory."
The Purdy Lady Eagles advanced to the Class 2, District 12 title game with a 67-40 rout of Jasper. The Lady Eagles will face Liberal, who defeated Greenfield 45-37.
"We weren't as crisp to start the game as I wanted us to be," said Purdy coach Grant Young. "As the game went along, we picked up the pace, and I was pleased with our girls' performance."
Purdy led 19-9 at the end of the first quarter and 40-22 at halftime.
Addy Roller took over in the third period for the Lady Eagles, hitting four of her game-high seven 3-pointers in the period. Purdy outscored Jasper 23-7 in the frame and led 63-29 to begin play in the fourth.
"These girls don't want this season to end," said Young. "The leadership and experience of our players has carried us all season long."
Jasper was led in scoring by Rachael Bausinger with 15 points, and Shea Wells added 13 points.
Scoring for Purdy were: Roller, 36; Mattie White, 12; Rachael Neill, 10; Katie Hughes, 4; Taylor Moller, 3; and Jayse Henderson, 2.
The Lady Eagles' championship game on Thursday is scheduled to tipoff at 6 p.m. That game will be immediately followed by the boys' district championship match up at 7:30 p.m.
The games will be played at Carthage High School.