The Lady Panthers pressed the court at home Friday night to defeat the Lady Bears of Burke County in an 84-41 stunner.
Afterward, standouts Rion Brown and Jordan Mcrae, who were nominated for the McDonald’s All American High School Boys Basketball Team, were honored with plaques. The boys squad then took the court and overpowered the Bears, 84-61.
Lady Panthers 84,
Lady Bears 41
The Hinesville girls brought on the press and played relentlessly to outscore the Bears 25-8 at the close of the first quarter.
Somewhat confused, the Burke team left Kourtney Alexander open at the outside corner where she was able to land four 3-point shots during the game. Alexander ended the night with 26 points.
The pressure from the Liberty girls never ceased and back-to-back steals from Diamone Johnson and Courtney Rhodes allowed the Panthers to add another 23 points to the Bears’ 10 before the break. Rhodes was all over the boards, earning a double-double with 13 rebounds and 15 points. Johnson also had a double-double with 14 points 10 rebounds. Miata Askew ended the game with 10 points and five assists.
Lady Panthers 25 48 68-84
Lady Bears 8 18 29-41
Panthers 84, Bears 61
Tennessee committed Jordan McRae, who was actually slightly under the weather, sank 32 points Friday night against the Burke Bears. Miami-bound Rion Brown added 23 points of his own. The duo connected for a pair of alley-oops and led the Panthers to a 84-61 victory.
The boys’ attack at the net gave them a 22-7 lead early on. Panther coach Willie Graham mixed in some of the reserve unit, but managed to hold onto a 43-25 advantage at the break. Tucory Rhodes, much like his Lady Panther sister Courtney, pounded the board and earned 7 points for his team.
The Bears’ offense managed a short run in the second half — primarily in the fourth quarter — but the Panthers kept hitting the mark for the win.
Brown and McRae were recognized before the game as two of the 46 nominees representing Georgia on the McDonalds All-American Team.
Nominees are competing nationwide to fill 24 positions on the boys team, which will play to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. The boys game, which will be broadcast live on ESPNU, is at 8 p.m. March 31, at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The girls team plays at 5:30 p.m. The final team rosters will be announced at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 11 on ESPNU.
Brown and MacRae were nominated by the McDonald’s All American Basketball Team boys selection committee, a group of 32 basketball experts, including nationally renowned coaches and high school sports journalists.
Proceeds from ticket sales for both games will benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.