The Liberty County High School boys’ basketball team split their opening Region 3-AAAA games over the weekend, while the Lady Panthers suffered back-to-back losses.
Liberty was scheduled to host Richmond Hill on Tuesday. Results will be online and in Sunday’s Courier.
The LCHS teams will host Windsor Forest on Friday starting with the girls’ game at 6 p.m.
On Friday in Waynesboro, the Lady Panthers lost a close game to the Lady Bears, 56-52. The boys’ game was just as intense, with the Panthers falling, 65-60.
In the girls’ game, the Lady Panthers’ Tia Fleming had a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Senior Jaelynn James, who was named player of the game, notched 14 points. Jasmine Brooks had another strong game, scoring nine points. What hurt Liberty was a dismal 37 percentage point at the free-throw line and 17 fouls.
The Panthers sent the Bears to the line 23 times in the boys’ game. Liberty tried to pull ahead with a good third-quarter run and shooting 80 percent from the line.
The Panthers let the game get away from them in the final quarter, when the Bears outscored them, 24-12.
“We missed several easy shots at a point in that fourth quarter that put us down and picked them up,” Panther coach Willie Graham said. “We, by changing tempo, made ourselves passive at a time when they were becoming more aggressive.”
Panther Richard LeCounte had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Davion Mitchell added 12 points. Graham added that Tyreon Freeman and Tramel Walthour had their first varsity starts and did well.
The Lady Panthers fell, 61-52, at Thomson after Lady Bulldog Alesheia Johnson scored 20 points to pace the home team.
Lady Panther Alayanna Flanders had a breakout varsity game by scoring 12 points and earning player of the game honors. James and Fleming also scored 12 points each in the matchup.
Liberty improved its free-throw percentage by hitting 16 of 31 for 52 percent.
Fleming recorded another double-double with 13 rebounds in the game.
Liberty was 2-9 overall and 0-2 in region play after the loss.
After shooting 80 percent at the line Friday, the Panthers fizzled at the free-throw mark Saturday.
“Our free throw shooting is what worries me. We shot 80 percent against Burke and 45 percent against Thomson,” Graham said, adding they need to be more consistent, especially in region games.
LeCounte was voted the player of the game after scoring 27 points and 14 rebounds. Milik Wallace chipped in 14 points and Mitchell added 12.
Graham said now that LeCounte has played a few games, there’s been a shift in who the leading scorer is. Mitchell led the charts for many games until teams started to double-cover him and LeCounte still was playing football.
“The decrease in Davion’s scoring was expected, as well as the influence Richard would have on the team,” Graham said. “We now are putting the team back together and trying to find our rhythm.”
The Panthers went into this week’s action with a 10-4 overall record and a 1-1 region mark.
FRIDAY AT BURKE COUNTY
SATURDAY AT THOMSON