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Bradwell and Liberty split Hinesville Hoops battle
Bailey Gilmore
Bailey Gilmore is awarded the MVP trophy for her 15-point performance against Liberty County - photo by Gerald Thomas III

HINESVILLE -- GIRLS

The Bradwell Institute Lady Tigers owns Hinesville.

In a contest where the Lady Tigers (1-0) hosted the Liberty County Lady Panthers (0-1), Bradwell took home the win, defeating them 51-32.

The win came behind the efforts of Bailey Gilmore’s 15 points, Taniyah Bowman’s 12, and Ta’Tyana Anderson’s 10.

The game began evenly matched as both Hinesville teams fought for city bragging rights.

As time expired in the first quarter, Camauri Jenkins pulled up for a three – draining it to take a 14-11 lead for the Lady Panthers heading into second quarter.

The Lady Tigers grabbed a lead in the second quarter, going up 17-14 before head coach Kimberly Battle burned a timeout for her Lady Panthers to regroup.

After taking a 19-14 Lady Tiger lead thanks to Division 1 Guard/Forward prospect Gilmore scoring on an and one, the Lady Panthers went on a 5-2 run to close out the half.

The Lady Tigers came in the second with two quick buckets and eventually took a double digit 32-21 lead after an easy Gilmore bucket at the basket.

The Lady Panthers trimmed the lead to single digits shortly but couldn’t make the proper strides to make a significant dent, eventually falling behind by 19 to end the game.

“We wanted to just make sure we played within ourselves,” Lady Tigers Head Coach Faye Baker said. “I thought we did a good job with that especially in the second half. Our press was working for us, we were getting some steals, disrupting them a bit. And that’s what we were trying to do. Get us some easy transition baskets and we was able to extend the lead so because of that, I was happy.”

After the game, Gilmore was presented the game’s Most Valuable Player award for her 15-point performance.

“I definitely feel good about my accomplishment, but I feel like it’s still a lot of more work to do and I still have a lot of things to do to lead our team where we need to be in order to take all the teams in our region and make it to state,” Gilmore said after the game. “We definitely played hard tonight.”

The Lady Tigers will take the floor again on Thursday, Dec. 2 when they go to Ware County.

“I thought we did a good job and came out with a lot of energy,” Baker said. “We know this game is always an emotional game. So, like I told them, Liberty is going to come out and play you tough. And they did just what I expected. They have a new coach this year and from what I see, she’s doing a good job with them. I like the way they got after it defensively. They were disruptive and causing deflections, a lot of things you don’t see on the stat sheet. We try to make our opponents uncomfortable. That’s our mindset. In certain instances, I thought we did a pretty good job of that. I couple of our kids really stood out and played well. Bailey Gilmore played like an elite athlete tonight. And our point guard Taniyah Bowman makes us better when she’s on the floor because she’s just so quick and fast. Ta’Tyana Anderson came in and had ten points for us and she’s a freshman guard. So, when you start getting people like that that’s coming in and adding, I feel really good about our future.”

The Lady Panthers will compete again on Friday, Dec. 3 at Richmond Hill.

BOYS

The battle for Hinesville came down to the final seconds as the Liberty County Panthers (1-0) edged out the Bradwell Institute Tigers (0-1).

The Panthers played through the scoring of Corey Love (19) and Jeremiah Smoke (12).

The Tigers were led by Elyjah Thurmon’s 20 and Jaylin Frasier’s 14.

The Panthers jumped out on the Tigers 7-2 behind two threes with Smoke.

They kept the momentum up when Damien Parea checked in and drained two threes of his own.

But the momentum shifted to the Tigers as they led 19-16 at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter saw the Panthers take the lead back after Love drove for an and one followed by Mekhi Ellis putting in a bucket from a Joshua Smith pass to put the Panthers up 24-22.

Ellis also had a putback slam for the Panthers.

Before the half ended, Thurmon scored under the basket to bring the Tigers within two; 30-28.

The second half and the game got competitive.

The Panthers kept the lead in the third as the Tigers fell just short of taking the lead going into the fourth quarter.

Within a minute of the third quarter, the Tigers finally got the lead that they wanted back after a Caden Guy bucket at the rim.

Eventually the Panthers got it back after Isaac Harper knocked down a long two-pointer to pull ahead 49-48.

Smoke hit the following shot to take a 51-48 with 2:48 left, causing Tigers Head Coach Ty Randolph to call a timeout.

Out of the timeout, Thurmon scored on a contact finish to tie the ball game up as the two-minute mark loomed.

Love come back and hit two straight threes with les than a minute in a half left to get a 57-53 lead for the Panthers.

Ja’mar Price responded with a three to bring the score to 57-56 with 57 seconds left in the game.

David Black hit a shot to extend the Panthers lead back to three.

Thurmon came down for the Tigers and scored to bring the score to 59-58 as they trailed with 14 seconds left before the Panthers were called out of bounds, giving the Bradwell the ball back with nine seconds left.

The Tigers inbounded and looked to Jonathan Bryant as he pulled up a midrange jumper but couldn’t get it to fall through, giving the Panthers the bragging rights for Hinesville hoops in 2021.

“Mentality, unity, and work ethic,” Panthers Head Coach Levon Grant said after his first game on the job. “They guys been putting that in ever since the first day I got here. We selected the right team and know we got guys that got the right mentality, the right unity, and the right work ethic. I’m so proud of the guys for coming in and putting in the work since I got here. Guys like Corey Love been working hard each and every day. It’s a team and a group effort. Everybody chipped in and was able to come out here tonight and help with the victory.”

Love was rewarded Most Valuable Player for his clutch gene down the stretch along with leading the Panthers in scoring.

“We played as a team and everybody did their role and was talking,” the senior said after the game. “We came into this game, and everybody was talking trash. They didn’t think we were going to win, and we got the dub.”

The Panthers will next be in Richmond Hill on Friday, Dec. 3.

The Tigers will go to Ware County on Thursday, Dec. 2 for their next game.

“I’m extremely pleased with our guy’s effort,” Randolph said following the game. “They played their butts off pretty much for 32 minutes. I think it just came down to a lot of decision making on our end. We shot a lot of outside shots when we’re basically an inside presence team. Not making those shots got capitalized on. They’re a very good team. We don’t take anything away from them. Very well coached. But at the end of the day like we tell our guys, we came up short but that’s just one game. We’re not going to focus our season on one game. Some people focus on just beating Bradwell. Our focus is winning our last game in March in Macon.”

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