Panther Rion Brown knocked in 19 buckets Wednesday, including a three-pointer, and teammate Greg Richardson sank 14 baskets plus three trey shots. Their efforts paid off and Liberty County defeated Bradwell Institute, 70-50, during the Joe Greene Tournament.
The Tigers scored first and took a 6-2 lead, but the Panthers rallied, tied the score and added another 9 to close the first quarter up, 15-9.
The Tigers opened their passing game and the Panthers turned the ball over to allow Bradwell 15 points in the second. However, the Panthers scored steadily throughout the game and had a 31-24 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, the Tigers ate away at the Panthers lead, but LCHS shooter Greg Richardson sank two three-pointers, earning 10 of his 14 points in the quarter. Liberty was up 49-37 to open the final quarter.
The Tigers kept Richardson from scoring in the fourth, but Brown sank a three-pointer as did Shakur Cook. Tucory Rhodes sank 6 points and Melvin King hit three of four at the line. The Panthers scored 21 to the Tigers 13 to win 70-50.
Brown gave the crowd a show, hanging off the rim after slam dunks on both sides of the court.
Panther standout Jordan McRae supported his teammates, but sat out as part of a two-game suspension for an alleged scuffle with a Savannah High player during Tuesday night’s 68-67 OT win.
Bradwell is 1-2, while the Panthers improved to 4-0 for the season.
Panther coach Willie Graham said the game was a good opportunity to analyze players who just finished football and were coming off the bench. He said he thinks he found someone to fill the gap left by Terrell Johnson, who graduated last year.
"We were able to give Melvin King a lot of time tonight and he looked good and played well for us," Graham said. "He might be that big body we need under the board."
In fact, Panther football players Julian Stokes, Shakur Cook and Tucory Rhodes all played well and Graham said they’ve added depth and dimension to the team.
"You have to worry about the inside game and with Julian (Stokes) and Shakur Cook back now, they can attack the basket," he said. "They get the ball in their hands, they can get down the lane … It’s going to affect what teams can and can’t do against us.
"They’ve been paying a lot more attention to Rion and Jordan, but now they have to consider players like Richardson, Stokes, Cook and King. We don’t necessarily have to rely on the jump shot and it adds more to our team chemistry."
The Tigers travel to play Coffee County on Tuesday. The girls tip off at 6 p.m. and the boys game follows.
The Panthers were scheduled to play at McIntosh Academy yesterday and will be at Tattnall County on Friday. Scores and highlights from Saturday’s game against the Buccaneers will be in Wednesday’s Coastal Courier.