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Liberty dominated quarterfinal game

Panthers play Pace in Final Four Saturday

POSTED: March 2, 2017 12:52 p.m.

The Liberty County Panthers boys’ basketball team advanced to their third straight Final Four Wednesday night after an 89-72 victory over the Islands High Sharks. The Panthers dominated most of the game, pulling away from the Savannah team in the third quarter.

The game was back and forth in the first quarter as the Panthers held a 18-12 lead. The Sharks got within four points, but that was the closest they could get to the lead as Liberty County went on a 6-0 run to build a 10-point lead in the second quarter.

Davion Mitchell had a big showing in the first half as he connected on a fast break lay-up and then a huge three-point shot late in the half. Will Richardson followed up Mitchell’s trey with an and-1 play to push the Panthers’ lead out to 32-18 late in the half.

The Sharks got a little momentum when Justin Cave nailed a three-pointer to make the score 32-21. However, the Panthers worked back up to a 40-23 lead after showing off some fancy ball control late in the half.

Before the home team went into the locker room with a comfortable 40-24 lead over the Sharks, it was announced that Mitchell had made history again. The future Auburn Tiger became the first Panther to score over 2,000 points in a career.

Despite trailing by double-digits at the half, the inexperienced Sharks, only in their sixth year of existence, opened the third quarter an 11-2 run to cut the score to 42-35. That run was highlighted by Cave’s big dunk and lay-up off a pair of turnovers.

The Panthers finally broke the Shark’s run of three minutes without a made shot from the field when Mitchell nailed a long jumper. That helped the Panthers go on a 19-8 run to open up a 70-49 lead, their biggest of the game.

Liberty County never looked back as they went on to the 89-72 victory. Richardson and Mitchell exploded as they combined for 61 of their 89 points with 42 and 29 respectively.

Mitchell shot 50 percent from three-point territory while Richardson added nine rebounds to his big night. Jaalon Frazier just missed recording a double-double as he had nine points and a team-high 11 rebounds.

The Panthers will face off against the Pace Academy Knights Saturday at Armstrong State University’s Alumni Arena in Savannah. The match-up between two state champions from last year is slated for a 4 p.m. tip-off with the winner facing the winner of Morgan County and Calhoun. 

Tickets

Saturday’s Final Four game will be played at 4 p.m. at Armstrong State University in Savannah. Admission is $12. Tickets are being sold in advance at https://gofan.co/app/school/GHSA. Tickets bought with the GoFan app must be presented on a smart phone for entry.

The game will also be live-streamed at NFHSNetwork.com/GHSA. A 30-day subscription is $9.95 for an all-access, unlimited viewing pass on any device for all events, any sport and even access to other member state associations.

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