Liberty County High School played consistent basketball for three periods Friday night. Then they exploded for 20 points off transition in the fourth period to down Beach, 73-49.
The Panthers had four players in double figures. Sayvon Wilson led all scorers with 25 points and Aaron Scott paced him with 21. Michael Farrior and Derrick Brooks finished with 11 points each.
“We like to run maybe sometimes too much but tonight we were able to run under control. We have three players that can all handle the ball in transition,” Liberty County Panthers head coach Willie Graham
Both teams opened with quick buckets and the first quarter score stayed close. Liberty was able to slow down Beach’s fast break and the Panthers created scoring opportunities for turnovers. The lead changed several times but Liberty held the first quarter lead off of a break-away lay up from Scott.
The pace of the game forced both teams to go to the bench often. Graham was able to put a number of different combinations on the floor.
Liberty’s Wilson and Conner Bailey helped the Panthers win the battle on the boards during the second quarter. As the teams traded baskets, Beach and Liberty ended the first half stalemated at 28.
Liberty continued to show patience on offense out of the half. The Panthers moved the ball around the perimeter looking for an opening Beach’s aggressive defense.
Liberty also continued a strong transition game and took a 31-28 lead layup and foul shot from Scott.
Scott hit Wilson with a no look pass to keep the Panthers in front 36-34.
Beach’s fouling helped send the Panthers to the free-throw line frequently during the third quarter. Liberty was able to build a 48-41 lead by the end of the quarter.
Liberty’s Farrior picked off a Beach pass and scored on a coast-to-coast lay up to open the fourth quarter.
The Panthers had a few miscues but continued success at the free throw line and a strong transition game kept Beach at bay.
Liberty also out-rebounded Beach on both ends of the floor.
“We are starting to move the ball better but we are also understanding that we have to look for the open rather than just shoot it. Rebounding is also come together, we have to block out and be smart because we don’t have any bruisers. We had 27 turnovers against Long Tuesday so I am ready to watch this film because I know we cut down on turnovers against Beach,” Graham said.
Liberty moves to 2-0 and will face Bradwell in the Joe Greene tournament at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Beach High School.
Liberty 76, Beach 49
Liberty top scorers: Sayvon Wilson 25, Aaron Scott 21, Derrick Brooks 11, Michael Farrior 11, Josh Powers 2, Deante Bacon 2, Tamontray Tucker 1, Raekwon McMillian 1, Conner Bailey 1