Liberty County High School varsity boys’ basketball team faced off against Johnson High School Feb. 16 in the first round of state playoffs. Suffering a loss of 75 to 55, the team’s run for the state title was cut short.
Head coach Julian Stokes said the season was the most emotional and challenging seasons thus far.
“I’d like to say the theme for our team this year was adversity,” Stokes said. “The word played so many roles in our season, whether it was making a comeback after being down big, going through personal battles and injuries, or dealing with the ultimate challenge in itself with gaining our guardian angel.”
Stokes thanked his seniors, crediting their hard work and dedication to make their senior year memorable.
“I find my most enjoyment turning these boys into better basketball players as well as human beings in any ways I can,” Stokes continued. “So, time to get better. Another season is in the books and now, to build for the future.”
The players with leading score included Jaden Young with 16 points, David Thomas with 12 points, Keannon Taylor with 8 points and LaDarrius Mack with 7 points and 6 rbs.
“The best part of our season was our constant growth,” Stokes continued. “We’ve been through so much this year and we have been able to come out on top. This was one special group and the progress we have made as a team has been something special to watch. Worst part of our season was the obvious loss of Spud. Emotionally and the timing of it all was such a big hit for us going into the late part of the season but we handled ourselves well through that tough time and again grew and came out better in the end.
The coach said next year plans include developing players that are next in line and keep building on the ones that have returned.
“We have seven seniors this year but with a solid core coming back we may have to rely on some youth and first timers to step in and fill those roles,” he said. “Some will have to adjust quick and learn how to compete on the varsity level. Just from a physical standpoint matching up with Johnson we still aren’t quite where we need to be in that department so the weight room will be crucial for us this offseason. Also working on our execution and building our basketball knowledge. Just overall working on becoming better basketball players. That will come with time and experience of course. Our offseason started soon as the game clock hit 0 on Saturday night. Now it’s all about putting in the work.”
Stokes said he wants the players who are moving on to know that Liberty County basketball, “is always a place where they can call home.”
“Anything they may need in the future always know I’m just a phone call away,” he said. “To my returners, the foundations have been set and hopefully your goal is to extend the legacy of Liberty County basketball. This program is headed in the right direction and with time, work, and support from our community we can be an elite program well known throughout the entire state of Georgia. With that thank you to the community for all the love and support sent in many shapes, forms, and fashions throughout our season. We enjoy putting on great games for you guys and we can’t win without you all cheering and supporting us. We hope that we can continue to have that love and support for the future seasons to come.”