The Wayne County Yellow Jackets swept the Liberty County High School Panthers Friday in Jesup.
The team, in their second home game since the death of Shaquille E. Morgan, paid homage to Morgan. Players wore specially made practice shirts with the No. 1 he wore on his jersey on the back and his signature bow-tie on the front of the shirt.
Morgan was killed Jan. 5 when he was hit by a train in Jesup. His name remains on the roster and his jersey was placed on the team bench.
After a moment of silence, the Lady Yellow Jackets took the court and capitalized on a string of Lady Panther turnovers in the second quarter en-route to a 70-46 thrashing of the Lady Panthers.
After closing the first quarter 13-12, the Yellow Jackets swarmed over the Lady Panthers, pressing hard and forcing turnovers that allowed Wayne County to outscore the Liberty girls 23-6. It was a deficit the Liberty girls never recovered from.
The Lady Panthers struggled at the line and missed easy layups, adding to the downfall.
Liberty’s Emone Fisher, who moved away during the holiday break, has since returned and was back on the court Friday. But her normally steady shots were rusty. At the line, Fisher hit 2-of-6 and several of her 3-point attempts bounced out.
The Lady Panthers were 11-of-25 at the line. The Lady Yellow Jackets got only six free throws, but sank four.
Wayne’s Tyleria Fullmore dumped in 19 points. Ty Blackmon added 15 and Tania Ward chipped in 12 for the Yellow Jackets.
Lady Panthers’ Brianna Reece and Mehi Keith hit 10 points apiece with Bryonna Graham added nine, Jalen James hit seven points, Latia Fleming chipped in six points and Emone Fisher contributing four points.
The Lady Panthers are 2-9 overall and 0-3 in Region 3A-AAAA.
The Liberty boys fell to 7-11 overall and 1-2 in the region after Wayne County held on for a 50-47 win.
The Yellow Jackets led much of the game, but Liberty stayed close and trailed 28-25 at the half.
In the third quarter the Yellow Jackets pulled away by eight, but the Panthers kept fighting back and closed the gap to three points.
Liberty took its first lead of the night on a shot from the line, making the game 44-43 with 5:09 remaining. But the Yellow Jackets tied the game 47-47 with one minute left in regulation. Wayne County players sank 3 of 4 free throws in the game’s final seconds to seal the win.
The Liberty squads play again next Friday in Statesboro.
Liberty girls 12|6|17|11 — 46
Wayne Co. girls 13|23|13|21 — 70
Liberty boys 8|17|12|10 — 47
Wayne Co. boys 16|12|12|10 — 50