A boys’ basketball game between Liberty County and Bradwell Institute is one of the biggest draws in Hinesville high-school sports.
And Friday, the teams proved why before a standing-room-only crowd at Bradwell’s gym.
In a game highlighted by a brilliant array of 3-pointers, slam dunks and swift maneuvers, undefeated Liberty got the advantage late in the fourth quarter for the 57-52 win to spoil Bradwell’s season opener.
The difference in who claimed the bragging rights came down to last-minute fouls and free-throw shooting. Liberty (3-0) made 11 of 13 free throws in the fourth quarter and avoided turnovers.
In comparison, Bradwell, which led most of the game and had a one-point advantage after three quarters, hit 5 of 8 from the line in the final period.
Liberty senior Connor Bailey, who had a series of alley-oops and dunks last weekend at the Southside Classic, led all scorers with 15 points.
Freddie McSwain chipped in 14 points, and including 8-of-8 showing from the line in the second half.
Richard LeCounte scored nine points and was 4 for 4 at the line in the fourth quarter. Jishaun Harris added eight points was 3 of 4 at the line in the fourth and hit a trey in the first half of the game.
Davion Mitchell scored eight points including a 3-pointer, and Jeremiah Bacon had a 3-pointer for all his points.
Bradwell’s Reasha Stokes and Jamorris Hill each had 11 points, with Hill hitting one from behind the arc.
Miguel Pineda added 10 with nearly back-to-back trey shots in the second quarter.
Malcolm Dingle chipped in nine points. Kendrick Harris scored six.
Hubert Anderson scored four and Daylon Baker scored one.
While both teams act like rivals on the court, many players from each team shared a common bond Friday. During pre-game warm-ups, Hill, Pineda and McSwain wore their Coastal Crew Rebels’ T-shirts with the words, “Ernie Walthour, gone but never forgotten” on the backs.
The crowd took a moment of silence to honor the Coastal Crew coach and mentor, who was killed July 1 in an apparent armed robbery.