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Liberty returns with strong showing
Panthers win first two after holidays
Panther Richard LeCounte puts up a layup during Libertys win over the Burke County Bears Friday night. - photo by Patty Leon

Liberty County teams were busy coming off the holiday break, playing three games this week.

The Panther squads hosted Statesboro High School Tuesday when the Panthers won 76-59.

Friday night, the Panthers hosted Burke County for their first Region 3-AAAA games of the season. The Lady Panthers escaped overtime with a 53-50 win over the Lady Bears. The boys’ matchup was not quite as close as the Panthers easily defeated the Bears 88-68.

Against Statesboro Tuesday, standout guard Davion Mitchell hit a game-high 34 points and broke the 1,000 point mark for his high school career in scoring. Mitchell landed 6 of 13 trey shots in the win against the Blue Devils.

Richard LeCounte and Jishaun Harris also hit double digits points with 17 and 11, respectively.
Friday night, Mitchell scored in 29 points with four back-to-back treys in the third quarter and three back-to-back three-pointers in the first half. In the fourth quarter, he pounded in an around-the-world slam dunk before being rested for the remainder of the game as the reserve unit took the floor.

LeCounte had 22 points and left the court in the fourth quarter after dropping in his own three-pointer. Harris rounded out double-digit scorers, knocking down 13.

Burke trailed 51-25 by halftime and never managed to close the gap. The boys are now 11-1 overall and 1-0 in region play.

The Liberty girls also played the Statesboro girls Tuesday. The score for the Lady Panthers game against the Lady Blue Devils was not available by press time.

Friday night, the Lady Panthers squeaked out the 53-50 win in a nail-biter that came down to the final 3.2 seconds.
The Lady Bears had a one-point advantage in the first quarter and the point spread was only three points in favor of the home team by half time.

In the heat of the game, fouls were exchanged, but the Lady Bears also drew a technical, sending Alayanna Flanders and Tia Fleming to the line. Both hit their two shots to go ahead by three. Despite a last-second attempt by the Lady Bears, the Liberty girls held on to beat the Burke County girls to go 1-0 in Region 3-AAAA.

Fleming led the Liberty girls with 22 points, Jasmine Brooks chipped in 13 for the double digit scorers. The Liberty girls are 3-6 overall.
The Liberty teams were scheduled to take the floor again Saturday in their second region contests against Thomson. The teams travel to Richmond Hill Tuesday for games beginning at 6 p.m.

Liberty girls box score for Burke County:
LCHS: 10|12|11|20 = 53
BURKE: 11|8|13|18 = 50

Liberty boys box score, Statesboro High game:
LCHS: 10|21|20|25 = 76
SHS: 13|12|13|21 = 59

Burke County Box score:
LCHS: 28|23|28|9 = 88
BURKE: 13|12|23|20 = 68

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