Sayvon Wilson scored 12 points in the fourth quarter Tuesday night to help pull Liberty County past Ware County 59-44 in Waycross.
The Panthers, trying to build on their win against Wayne County, trailed the Gators 26-23 at halftime. But Liberty’s slashing guards showed versatility by passing more to set up scoring opportunities.
"We were able to get the ball inside a lot tonight and that gave us open looks inside. We were able to work in the lane too," Liberty coach Willie Graham said.
Melvin King scored 6 points to give Liberty a 31-30 lead early in the third quarter. The Panthers carried a 36-33 lead going into the final stanza and Tucory Rhodes extended the lead to 42-36 forcing the Gators to intensify their defensive pressure. Ware capitalized off turnovers and pulled within four in the final minutes of the game.
Michael Farrior drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key to keep Liberty in control of the game.
The Panthers had three players in double digits. Wilson finished with a game-high 21 points. King banked 12 points, and Rhodes finished with 11.
Graham said he saw things in the last two outings that should benefit the Panthers down the stretch.
"We are starting to get our rotations set for substitutions. The kids are watching the particular player and know what the situation is when they go in the game. We are starting to show more patience on offense and that is making us a better basketball team," he said.
The win improved Liberty to 12-4 and 2-2 in Region 2A-AAAAA.
The Panthers will have a chance to make some movement in the region race Friday night when they travel to Glynn Academy. A win against Glynn Academy could pull them up to third in region as the season begins to wind down.
"I don’t really know about Glynn. I will get on the phone and start getting some scouting reports on them. We saw them this summer and I would say right now they are somewhere in the middle of the pack," Graham said.
Liberty 59, Ware 44
Liberty top scorers: Sayvon Wilson 23 (12 in the 4th quarter), Melvin King 12, Tucory Rhodes 11, Michael Farrior 7, Rackwon McMillian 4, Shakur Cook 2