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Liberty boys, girls earn wins in JGT
Liberty County High Schools Derrick Brooks leaps as he tries to block a shot during the Panthers 56-46 win over Northeast Macon on Wednesday night in the Joe Greene Tournament at Beach. - photo by Photo by John Wood

Liberty County High School made it a sweep on Wednesday night at the Joe Greene Tournament at Beach.
The girls ran past Northeast Macon, 56-43. The Panthers knocked off the Raiders, 56-46.
The win improved the Lady Panthers to 1-1. It also may have helped the Liberty team’s self-esteem. The Lady Panthers were able to come back after giving up a double digit halftime lead and losing in the final minutes against Bradwell Tuesday night.
“I think we learned a huge lesson from Tuesday night’s loss. We played better tonight but we are still not doing everything that we need to,” Liberty County girls’ coach Carolyn Kelly said.
The game remained close in the first half. Liberty was able to take advantage of a smaller Lady Raider lineup to create extra scoring opportunities on the board. Liberty had a 25-23 lead going into the half.
Liberty started to take control of the game heading into the last quarter of the game. The Lady Panthers were up 46-40 when they put together a 10 point scoring run off of transition and inside play. Lady Panther post player Kymberli Payno had 8 points in the fourth quarter.
“We won tonight and I think are intensity level was much better than it was against Bradwell but we still need to work on defense,” Kelly said.
Kelly said that her club is having a lot of trouble playing man-to-man defense. Because of that the Lady Panthers are having to rely on zone.
“We were able to take advantage of the lack of inside strength against Northeast Macon but we will not be able to do that against McIntosh County Academy Tuesday night. They have a lot of height and we will have to work hard on the boards,” Kelly said.
Diamone Johnson and Courtney Rhodes led the Lady Panthers in the scoring column with 13 points each.
In the boys’ contest, the unbeaten Panthers improved to 3-0. They opened the game with a 5-0 run, but the Raiders’ quickness and shooting kept them in the game.
Both teams continued to trade buckets but Liberty’s early momentum carried the Panthers to a 27-25 lead at the half.
Northeast Macon kept the game close early in the third quarter but Liberty used its own transition game and controlled offense to put the game out of reach for the Raiders.
“In the fourth quarter we started to be able to spread the floor and showed some patience and found the open shots. We didn’t rebound in the first half as we needed to so we really made a point to make sure we bodied up and blocked out in the second half,” Liberty County boys’ coach Willie Graham said.
Liberty had three players that finished in double figures against Northeast Macon. Senior forward Sayvon Wilson led the Panthers with 13 points. Aaron Scott finished with 12 points and Conner Baily contributed 10 points. Derrick Brooks had 9 points.
Liberty remains undefeated and moves to 3-0 on the season. The Panthers travel to McIntosh Academy next.
“McIntosh will be quick and athletic. We will certainly have to be ready to play,” Graham said.

LCHS: 9/16/14/17 - 56
NE Macon: 10/13/11/9 - 43

Liberty: Diamone Johnson 13, Courtney Rhodes 13, Kymberli Payno 10, Jasmine Smith 7, Tiara Howard 5, Brianna Reece 4, Emonie Fisher 2, Jaclynn James 1, Jarani Canty 1.

LCHS: 17/10/9/20 - 56
NE Macon: 14/11/16/5 - 46

Liberty: Sayvon Wilson 13, Aaron Scott 12, Conner Bailey 10, Derrick Brooks 9, Deante Bacon 7, D’Angelo Streeter 3, Tamontray Tucker 2.

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