In what can only be described as a fight to the finish, the Liberty County High School boys’ basketball team defeated Long County High School, 65-60, on Tuesday in Ludowici.
In the first period, Blue Tide player Jamal Anderson had the hot hand with nine points to help Long County to a 20-12 lead.
In the second and third quarters, the two teams went back and forth like two heavyweight fighters. At the end of the third period, it was all tied up, 49-49.
At the beginning of the final period, it looked like the Panthers were going to pull away as they went on a 12-6 run to go up, 61-55.
With 15 seconds left to play, however, Long County’s Vanda Vereen hit a long 3-pointer to narrow the gap to 61-58. But with the Tide forced to foul, the victory was sealed when Liberty’s Derrick Brooks hit both of his free throws to give the Panthers a 65-60 win.
Brooks finished with a game-high 23 points. Michael Farrior added 19 and Aaron Scott finished with 10 points.
Anderson led the Blue Tide with 18 points while Chris Larochester chipped in 11 and Kalope McRae scored nine.
Though his team won, Panthers coach Willie Graham said the game wasn’t pretty.
“Ugly win, but a win,” he said. “Our guards are committing a lot of unforced turnovers, but our forwards are coming along nicely. The competition is getting tougher each game.”
Blue Tice coach Deshon Brock was pleased with the play of his team.
“We played hard. We have to fine-tune some things and improve in rebounding, but we played a great game,” he said. “I thought Kalope McRae had an outstanding game, and Jeffery Hall gave us some big time minutes in the third quarter.”
The Blue Tide travel to Guyton this weekend to play in the Southeast Effingham Thanksgiving Throwdown. Tonight they face South Effingham at 8:30, and Saturday they take on the Claxton Tigers.
The Panthers will travel to Savannah tonight to take on the Beach Bulldogs at 8 p.m.
For more photos of the game, go to www.coastalcourier.com.