It was a non-conference game between rivals Saturday, and when the dust settled at Liberty County High School, the host Panthers swept Long County.
The Lady Panthers toppled Long County, 62-25, and the Liberty boys won, 67-48.
The Lady Tide (1-7) opened strong, going basket for basket with the Lady Panthers in the first quarter. At the end of the first, Liberty County led by three points.
But after resting her usual starters, Bryonna Graham and Brianna Reece, Lady Panther coach Carolyn Kelly tapped the two off the bench, and the Liberty girls went on a 21-9 run before the half.
The duo came back out for the third quarter and kept the tempo fast, passed well and kept the Lady Tide from getting on the scoreboard. The Lady Tide managed only three points in the third quarter.
Kelly kept her inside post player, Tia Fleming, on the floor for most of the game. Fleming nabbed rebounds and led the Lady Panthers with 17 points. Graham and Reece also hit double digits, with 15 and 10 points, respectively.
The Lady Panthers (5-4) are done for 2013 and will start Region 3-AAAA play Jan. 3 at Statesboro High School.
Liberty — 9/21/16/16: 62
Long — 6/9/3/7: 25
Liberty top scorers: Tia Fleming 17, Bryonna Graham 15, Brianna Reece 10
The boys’ teams took the court immediately after the girls’ game, and a notable difference for the Panther squad was the return of Freddie McSwain.
He had missed a few games due to an injury, but was back in form against the Blue Tide. He came back with 16 points Saturday.
“It’s very important to have Freddie back,” Panther coach Willie Graham said. “He brings a lot of intensity to the floor for us.” After leading by five points at the end of the first quarter, Liberty pulled away in the second quarter and never relinquished the lead.
Connor Bailey paced the Panthers with 24 points. Vanda Vereen led Long with 13 points.
The Tide, 2-4 overall and 1-1 in Region 2-AA, play at 6 tonight at Benedictine. On Friday, the Long County teams host Toombs County, starting at 6:30 p.m.
The Panther boys’ team plays at the Gentlemen’s Classic Tournament set for Dec. 26-28 at Statesboro High.
Liberty — 14/22/19/12: 67
Long — 9/11/11/17: 48
Liberty top scorers: Conner Bailey 24, Freddie McSwain 16
Long top scorers: Vanda Vereen 13, Brendon Scott, 11, Danaron Anderson, 10.
In other news, the Bradwell Institute Tigers were to play at McIntosh County Academy on Saturday, but scores and statistics have not been released. The Tigers will play Coffee County beginning at 6 p.m. Friday in Douglas. The Bradwell boys also will play in the Gentlemen’s Classic.
First Presbyterian Christian Academy’s girls’ and boys’ basketball teams were scheduled to play at the Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament in Lyons Dec. 13-14 and at Bulloch Academy on Monday, but final scores and statistics have not been released.