Liberty County opened its basketball season at Bradwell Institute on Saturday when the Liberty girls lost and the Panthers won.
The games took place inside Tiger gym, where it was standing room only with an electric atmosphere.
Lady Tigers 56, Lady Panthers 41
The girls took the court first, and the teams stayed neck-and-neck for the first half, constantly trading leads. The first quarter closed with a 6-6 tie. At the half, Bradwell was up by seven points.
Bradwell then held the Liberty girls to six points in the third quarter to open the gap. The Lady Tigers benefitted from Raina Richardson’s five three-point shots. Alyssa McDuffie also drained two treys, and Brianna Johnson made one from behind the arc.
McDuffie led the scoring with 22 points. Richardson had 17, Johnson landed 12, Journae Young two and Autianna Hightower, Esperanza Castro and Ashante Harris each scored one point.
The Lady Tigers sank 20 of 33 free throws.
Lady Panther coach Carolyn Kelly said the slide started in the second half when point guard Navia Telfair fouled out.
However, Alaynna Flanders stepped in and drained two treys in the second half. She led the Lady Panthers’ scoring with 14 points. Senior forward Latia Fleming chipped in 12 from the inside.
Before leaving the game, Telfair scored five points. Jasmine Brooks and Destiny Craig added four points each. Ariana Forrest chipped in two.
The Lady Tigers are 1-1 and the Liberty girls are 0-1 to date.
Panthers 69, Tigers 44
The noise reached epic proportion when the boys took to the hardwood. The run-and-gun game suited Liberty’s offensive set-up.
Former Bradwell Tiger-turned-Liberty Panther Will Richardson and Auburn commit Davion Mitchell tag-teamed the ball down the court, feeding each other open shots. Mitchell showed why he is among the top-rated guards in the nation with three crowd-pleasing slam dunks in the first half and another in the second half.
Richardson drained 24 points, including three from behind the arc to lead the Panthers. Mitchell chipped in 18 with two trey. Tyreon Freeman made a three-pointer on his way to 16 points. Tyriq Reece added eight points and Jishaun Harris had three from the line.
The Tigers were led by Jyaunti Haggray with
14 points. KJ Milner was 5 of 6 at the line and added a layup, earning seven total points. Jordan Alexander, Deion Stewart and George Mitchell each sank four points, Anthony Vincent drained a three-pointer. Jair Reynolds, Justin James, Jaylon McNair and De’Shaun Coleman each scored two points in the game.
The Tigers are now 1-1. The Panthers are 1-0, earning new head coach Julian Stokes his first win.
“Feels good to finally get it out the way,” Stokes said. “It was a live atmosphere and a great game for us. The kids came out on fire and kept the intensity the entire night.”
Stokes said the team needs to develop the man-to-man defense.
“We didn’t do a great job communicating and keeping our man from driving the paint from the top of the key,” he said. “We also have to make more free throws. We finished 14 of 24 (58 percent).”
The coach was pleased with the effort during his first game as the head coach.
“I expected us to come out flat, but getting the early lead gave us opportunities to run our sets on offense and defense and be able to execute it against someone other than ourselves.”
Bradwell is scheduled to play in the Joe Greene Tournament at Beach High School Nov. 24-25.
Liberty will host Tattnall County this Friday. The girls take the court first at 6 p.m. and the boys follow.
Girls Box Score
Lady Tigers: 12|15|14|15
LCHS girls: 12|8|6|15
Boys Box Score