If there was a silver lining in Liberty County’s 73-59 loss to Tattnall County on Saturday at home, it’s this: The Panthers won’t have to face the Battle Creek Warriors again.
"We knew coming in that Tattnall was one of the quickest and most athletic teams we would face. With the exception of some region teams they are the best team we will play this season," Liberty coach Willie Graham said.
Tattnall County lived up to Graham’s billing from the outset. The Warriors were up 5-0 in the first period before Melvin King scored the Panthers’ first basket off an inside jump shot letting the Panthers cut into the Warrior lead.
That sparked an 8-0 Liberty run punctuated by a Chris Guilfo 3-pointer and Graham began to rest his starters before the beginning of the second period.
Tattnall opened the second period with a barrage of offense, but a Tamontray Tucker 3-pointer in the last two minutes of the quarter cut the Warriors’ lead to 28-21. Tucker also added a pair of free throws to pull Liberty to 30-23.
King scored to start the third quarter for the Panthers, but Tattnall ran to a 56-35 advantage by the end of the period. Liberty made a late run at Tattnall but the large Warriors’ lead was too big to overcome.
Liberty had three players in double figures. Guilfo and King ended up with 15 points each. Tucker contributed 10 points.
The loss dropped Liberty’s overall record to 12-6. The Panthers are 2-3 in region play.
Tattnall, which swept Liberty County, was the Panthers’ final non-region opponent of the season.
The Panthers are midway through a tough week in region 2A-AAAA that could affect their seeding for the region tournament.
Liberty faced visiting Richmond Hill Tuesday night. The Wildcats upset the Panthers on a last second shot earlier this month and are 3-2 and in third place in the region.
Friday, Liberty travels to region leader Brunswick. The Pirates are 5-1 and lost by two points to Glynn Academy early in region play. Liberty closes out the week Saturday hosting Wayne County, a team they have already defeated.
Tattnall 73, Liberty 59
Liberty top scorers: Chris Guilfo 15, Melvin King 15, Tamontray Tucker 10, Tucory Rhodes 5, Sayvon Wilson 4, Tabias Marion 4, Raekwon McMillian 2, Alton Sapp 2, Michael Farrior 2