The Liberty County boys’ basketball team is 6-0 in Region 3-AAAA after taking another region win Saturday afternoon at Burke County.
The Bears played a stronger game than in their first matchup against Liberty, but the Panthers won 76-70.
Panther Martial Washington was selected as the Player of the Game posting a double-double with 19 points and 16 rebounds.
Burke placed its focus on keeping Davion Mitchell away from the ball. Panther Richard LeCounte picked up more action and led the team in points with 21 as the Bears focused on Mitchell. Mitchell had 17 points, Jishaun Harris chipped in 11 and Will Richardson added eight in the win. The Panthers shot 51 percent from the line.
The Bears, having the home fan base and court advantage, struck pay dirt first, taking a 19-14 lead at the close of the first quarter.
But the Panthers hopped back on track, outscoring the Bears 19-9 in the second quarter to take the lead.
The entire second half was played at breakneck speed as the two teams swapped basket for basket. Had it not been for the five-point lead at the half and the three-point differential the Panthers pushed forward with in the second half, the Bears might have given the Panthers their second loss of the season.
As it stands now, however, the Panthers hold the top spot in the region, are undefeated in region play and remain 17-1 overall.
In the preceding girls’ game, the Lady Panthers fell 55-32 to the Lady Bears.
The Liberty girls were held to single digits in the first three quarters, at eight, six and eight respectively. In the final quarter, Liberty finally hit 10 points to the Lady Bears’ 12.
Burke led 29-14 at the half — a margin Liberty couldn’t close.
Lady Bear Asia Harden led Burke with 13 points. Stats for the Lady Panthers were not posted.
Liberty fell to 4-11 overall and 2-4 in region play.
The Panther teams will play at Thomson beginning at 6 p.m. Friday.