Senior Panther Tucory Rhodes was on point, hitting four three-point shots Tuesday night to help Liberty County’s team win a basketball scrimmage against cross-town rival Bradwell Institute.
Rhodes and junior forward Melvin King scored in the double digits, earning 21 and 12 points, respectively, during the home team’s win.
Tigers Malcom Dingle and Miguel Pineda hit the double-digits for Bradwell, nailing 12 and 11 points, respectively. Pineda hit three trey shots for the Tigers.
The first five minutes were a bit sluggish on both ends of the court, but the Liberty boys soon gelled and closed the first quarter up 20-9.
"It’s what you would expect," Liberty coach Willie Graham said. "We were a little ragged."
Fresh off the football field, Rhodes played full-steam ahead, hitting jump shots from outside the ring to help his team extend its lead to 40-24 by half time.
"He is a competitor and we expected him to step up this year and we look for that out of seniors," Graham said of Rhodes. "His overall performance was not surprising to us. We expect him to be somebody we can count on, but his shooting was a little surprising to us."
However, Graham said his team was not crisp when it came to running any kind of offensive set.
The Tigers looked good running the ball but missed too many easy layups. And when it bounced off the boards, Panthers King and Tabius Marion were there for the rebounds.
Defensively, Panther Shakur Cook gave the coach valuable minutes with several steals converted for points. However, the Tigers were able to put eight points up in the third quarter due to turnovers by new transfer player Mike Farrior, formerly of First Presbyterian Christian Academy.
Farrior did make up for the errors by nailing a three-pointer as the Panthers extended their lead 54-32 at the end of the third."On offense, he (Cook) is going to have to give us more leadership in controlling the tempo and things like that for us. Our defense, although very aggressive most of the time, made a lot of mistakes," Graham said. "But you know with Shakur Cook and most of the guys that came over from football, we only had a few days with them. So we have to work on our timing and getting used to relying on each other and these small things that take time to come."
The coach said he has a few football players who have expressed interest in joining the team.
"If we can get through that, we’ll have a couple of days to try and put the team together and find out what type of depth we have and how far we can go in what situations," Graham said.
Top scorers: Tucory Rhodes 21, Melvin King 12, Mike Farrior 8, Sayvon Wilson 7
Free throws: 14 of 28
Three-point shots: Tucory Rhodes 4, Mike Farrior 1
Top scorers: Malcolm Dingle 12, Miguel Pineda 11, Dean Craig, Jevante Richey and Cameron Kight had 4 each
Free throws: 9 of 14
Three-point shots: Miguel Pineda 3