No. 3 seed Liberty pulled off a 43-point victory against Greenbriar, 77-34, Monday afternoon in the opening round of the Region 2-AAAA girls basketball tournament at Richmond Hill High School.
After missing some easy baskets and turning over the ball, the Lady Panthers held a 12-11 lead after the first quarter.
Greenbriar scored the first basket of the second quarter, and then Liberty shifted into high gear. The Lady Panthers forced five turnovers in a row and went on a 13-point run early in the second, forcing Greenbriar into timeouts to try to slow the Panther attack. Greenbriar trailed Liberty, 35-17 at the half.
Liberty employed its whole bench as Lady Panthers coach Carolyn Kelly kept wholesale substitutions going throughout the game.
“We didn’t know a whole lot about Greenbriar coming in, but we have been wearing other teams down by rotating a different five with fresh legs every few minutes. We can go out and attack out of 2-2-1 and keep constant pressure on the ball, which allowed us to create turnovers and fuel transition,” Kelly said.
She said she especially was pleased how her team is starting use an inside game more.
Post player Kymberli Payno had 10 points on the block for Liberty.
“Kymberli is definitely getting better on the block for us and also giving us rebounds,” Kelly said. “We also are using Diamone Johnson down low because she is a threat to score off the dribble too or on the baseline.”
Liberty forced 20 steals and finished 16-for-34 from free throw line.
Johnson led Liberty’s scoring assault with 14 points. Bryonna Graham contributed 13. Emoni Fisher and Courtney Rhodes finished with 10 points each.
In the second round, Liberty will face the North No. 2 seed South Effingham Lady Mustangs at 3:30 p.m. today in Richmond Hill.
South Effingham finished the season 16-9 and 7-3 in region play. The Lady Mustangs had two losses to Richmond Hill during the regular season, but lost by only three, 57-54, to region leader Statesboro in January.
Liberty 77, G-briar 34
Liberty 12 23 26 18-77
G-briar 11 6 6 11- 34
Liberty top scorers: Johnson 14, Graham 13, Fisher 10, Payno 10, Samson 6, Reece 5, Richardson 3, Howard 2, Fleming 2, Smith 2