Panthers to be honored at Capitol
The 2016 Liberty County High School boy’s basketball team will be honored at the state Capitol in Atlanta on Monday, for winning the GHSA Class AAAA championship.
The Panthers were invited by state Rep. Al Williams.
Liberty County defeated Jonesboro 58-52 to win the championship last season.
In a news release, Superintendent Dr. Valya S. Lee said, "We are excited to see our Panther team honored for their outstanding sports achievement at the state level. I know this will be a memorable experience for our players and coaches."
After a victory over Richmond Hill, the Lady Panthers of Liberty County extended their winning streak Friday to three with a 68-51 win over Brantley County.
Liberty County set the tone early with a 20-11 lead in the first. Junior Destiny Craig led the team, scoring seven points, and senior Jasmine Brooks had six. Although the scoring slowed in the second, the Lady Panthers kept a 31-25 lead at halftime.
Craig took control of the game in the second half, scoring 13 of her 23 points and keeping Liberty up top.
Head coach Nicole Tazewell said her team did a great job limiting the Herons scoring.
"I feel like we communicated better on the defensive end," she said. "We played defense as a team and we had each other’s back."
In the boys game, Liberty dominated Brantley County with a 101-56 win. The team was red hot in the opening minutes and finished the first quarter ahead 30-8.
Head coach Julian Stokes said the team came out aggressive, knocking down shots, and creating points off turnovers they caused with defensive pressure. As the second quarter went on, the Panthers’ slowed. They were not able to convert as many shots as in the first, resulting in Brantley County outscoring Liberty 18-12.
Going into halftime with a 42-26 lead, Stokes said his focus was to work on the little things and play defense to protect their lead.
Junior Will Richardson provided the spark for Liberty County in the second half. With only nine points in the first half, Richardson lit it up in the third quarter, knocking down 7 three-pointers and finishing the game with 35 points. Senior Davion Mitchell played consistent throughout and finished with 24 points. Senior Jyaunti Haggray hit four out of his six threes in the fourth quarter and finished with 18 points. In the end, these three Panthers produced 51 of the teams 59 points in the second half.
Stokes said Richardson was struggling in the first half, but wanted him to find his nitch in the second.
"It was something that he wanted to do personally," he said. "He knew he was off a little bit, and he wanted to get his shot right."
Both Panthers (14-5) and Lady Panthers (8-9) now look to take on Brunswick in their next contest.