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Panthers earn first-round byes in playoffs
Rion Brown led the baskets in the Panthers victory over South Effingham Friday night. Of his 23 points most were from the three-point line.
With the hoops season winding down, the Liberty County Panthers are just waiting to see what happens in the rest of their region and sub region to see who they draw in the post season.
Both the men and women’s teams earned byes since the men are ranked number one in 3-AAA and the ladies are tied at number two in their sub-region.
Helping them stay in their spots was their final region wins over the South Effingham Mustangs last Friday.

Lady Panthers 47,
Lady Mustangs 30
Despite beating the Lady Mustangs by 17-points Lady Panther coach Carolyn Kelly said she was disappointed in her girls’ performance.
“We did not do anything right,” she said. “We were at the wrong place doing the wrong things at the wrong time. They came out and were playing better than the first time we played them.
“They had improved in a lot of different areas. But there was no reason why we should not have had a better performance. We didn’t run the ball well we didn’t run our offense well. We had too many turnovers and we didn’t get the turnovers from them we should have due to our press. We barely got out of there with the win.”
Kelly said they earned their bye week as they maintained a spot in the top two and they still don’t know who they may play. Other teams in the region have pretty close records. Regardless of whom they draw she knows that staying in the game is part of the challenge as they start coming up against teams of a higher caliber.
“When you start getting up toward the Augusta area the game is different, the officials are different and they are talented teams. They play on a high level night to night.”
The bright spot for the Lady Panthers is the probable return of LaQuananisha Adams to the line up for post-season play.
“We found out on Friday that Nisha will be ready to play in the region playoffs,” Kelly said. “She is practicing with us today.”
The coach said that would change the team’s dynamic. She said she was happy her team was able to scrape out as many wins as they were hoping to without Adams. Her likely return for the playoffs adds strength and depth to play at the next level.
Kelly hopes the experience gained by her younger players while Adams was injured will improve their performance and get them further down the stretch in the playoffs.
Metra Walthour 20
Kourtney Alexander 13
Candace Barham 10
Shontavia Clay 4
Marcella Gordon 4
Janesha Ross 2
Miata Askew 2
Precious Williams 2

Panthers 67,
Mustangs 37
The South Effingham Mustangs did the best they could to close the Panthers’ inside game and did well throughout the first half. However, Panther coach Willie Graham said his team adjusted in the second half to propel them on top by 30-points.
“We played a lot better defense in the second half and were a lot more composed in our offense,” he said. “We stayed in our patterns and hit the right spots.”
Graham said the Mustangs did take a lot of the Panthers inside scorers out during the first half, but he posted Jordan McRae who was able to get most of his shots from the inside.
The coach said his team missed a lot of easy baskets but he described Rion Brown as, “having that hot hand around the three-point line.”
Brown scored 23 points that evening, most from outside the three-point line.
The men were ranked in the top 10 in the state, according to the GACA coaches poll. The Panthers stood at number nine. They are ranked first in the region and are waiting to see whom they play in round two.
Graham said it is likely they may draw Cross Creek or Richmond Hill depending on how they end their seasons.
While the Panthers have an idea of what to expect against Richmond Hill, Graham said he was hoping to catch the final games of Cross Creek to see their style of offense and defense.
The Panthers will begin regional playoff action next week. They play at Burke County.
Rion Brown 23
Jordan McRae 14
William Lee 10
Donrico Wigfall 4
Terrell Johnson 4
Charles Friend 2
Tracey Jester 2
Roderick Jones 2
Rashine Mitchell 2
Emmanuel Fuller 2
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