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Both Panther teams beat Camden
Jordan McRae leaps toward the basket in front of a Wildcat defender. - photo by Photo by Lewis Levine
The Liberty County Panthers took on the Camden County Wildcats in a non-region battle of the mighty felines Dec. 15. The Panthers improved their record to 7-2 and the Lady Panthers are 8-1 as they enter the Christmas break and get ready for intense regional action starting the New Year.

Panthers 64 Camden County 52
Standing side by side, the Panthers were taller than their Wildcat opponents but it was speed and intensity that ruled this game.
“At one point, we got caught up with the crowd and their momentum carried the speed of the game,” head coach Willie Graham said. “We had to regroup, slow things down and play our game.”
The Panthers knew the Wildcats had a sharp shooter in Ben Drayton, who can easily score up to 40 points in a game and can shoot the three-pointer from mid court.
“We got a little sloppy at times and we ran into some foul troubles,” Graham said. “But we knew they were small but quick and we talked about keeping number 12 (Drayton) at half of what he scored the previous game.”
Drayton was held to only 21 points, which is successful when defending this particular Wildcat player.
With a deep bench, Graham also has the ability to switch out players keeping in fresh legs and putting in productive players while sitting a player who may be struggling. This gave him a definite advantage in his last two wins against very tough opponents like Beach and Camden County.
The Panthers have a break until Dec. 27 when they get back to practice and get ready for regional action.
“We prepare for the next opponent as a whole,” Graham said. “You do want to make adjustments if they have a key player that can score well but you prepare for the whole team and not just that one player. You make adjustments for that one player as needed throughout the game based on what is transpiring.”

Lady Panthers 70, Camden County 48
The Lady Panthers scratched and clawed their opponent to end the game with a hefty 22-point lead (70-48). As the ladies’ season progresses, so do the young players head coach Carolyn Kelly, knows will take over the team when her two seniors, Metra Walthour and LaQuananisha Adams, head to Georgia Tech next year.
“I was really pleased with the way we performed,” Kelly said. “All year long I kept saying we had to have more scoring out of our guards.
I think Miata and Kourtney, though not consistent, are beginning to understand how important it is to take those quick shots and open up the middle a little bit better for Candace and Nisha and that’s what they did. They scored in double figures and that is what we said all along to them. If we could get those two to get on board and take those shots we knew we would have a successful year,” she said.
Kelly said they adjusted their defense to something Camden County was not accustomed to in order to push out their guard and prevent her from being successful at her shots.
“I don’t know if they play a lot of teams that do a full court trap and switch the defense up on them,” she said. “We switched from hall court trap to full court trap. We used the half court to try and slow their point guard down and we pushed her out. As far as her offense by pushing her out further it made it difficult for her to score.”
The ladies get to rest two days this week as they take their finals but will workout on two days this week and get back to practice Dec. 26.
Kelly plans to work on the fundamentals, such as ball handling and defensive drills, to get her players even more familiar with what she wants them to do. They start their regional games in the New Year against Richmond Hill.
“Richmond Hill is always a competitive team and you can never count them out,” Kelly said. “They did have a change in their head coach. This coach has some college playing background and I’m sure she has an excellent game plan to try and beat us. They do have a quality ball player that is about six feet tall. It should be an interesting game and not just a walk in the park.”
But when Kelly thinks about regional games, she thinks about Hephzibah.
“Hephzibah is going to be the game of the century,” she said. “We already know they have three quality shooters and they have three guards that are returning from last year. They are very strong up front and they will be a challenge for us.”

LaQuananisha Adams 21
Metra Walthour 11
Miata Askew 11
Kourtney Alexander 10
Candace Barham 9
Janisha Ross 4
Marcella Gordon 4

The Panthers hit the court Jan. 4 at home for the regional match against Richmond Hill.
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