Both Liberty County High School basketball teams have had successful starts to the young season.
Willie Graham’s boys team is 5-0, while Carolyn Kelly’s girls squad is 4-1. The Lady Panthers’ loss was to powerful Beach, 58-43, in Savannah’s Joe Greene Tip-Off Tournament during Thanksgiving week.
Kelly said the Beach game was a hard-fought contest. The Lady Bulldogs’ roster includes Division I signees Monique Willis (South Carolina) and Khalilah Watson (Alabama-Birmingham), and both girls showed up to play.
As far as her team is concerned, Kelly said Kourtney Alexander and Candice Barham are doing what they are supposed to as leaders. Newcomer Diamond Johnson has been impressive early with her play in the paint.
“She is doing as well as we expected of her coming in as a freshman,” Kelly said.
Graham said his team, which is ranked 10th in the most recent Class AAA state coaches poll, is taking the necessary steps for another successful season.
“I think we are getting on track to where we hope to be by the end of the season,” he said. “We have a team with a lot of individual talent, and it’s our challenge to put them together as a team. We are doing a little better offensively and defensively in working together as a team.”
Graham would like to see his team improve in a few areas, including foul shooting.
“We went from a high of 73 percent at the free-throw line this season to our last game (Johnson) we shot at 50 percent,” he said. “On turnovers, we’ve gone from a high of 24 to a low of 12. All those are still areas we have to work on, as well as working together as a unit and getting to know each other and anticipate each other’s moves.
“Rebounding is one of our weaknesses because we don’t have that one true big man in the middle. We do have big guards, and we have to get everybody focused on the fact that everybody must rebound.”