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Panthers look ahead to basketball state finals
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The Liberty County Panthers men’s basketball season is set to begin with one goal in mind — the state finals.
“Here at Liberty County High School, if we don’t make the state playoffs then it’s a losing season,” head coach Willie Graham said. “It’s not just about wins and losses, we expect to make state.
Last season, the Panthers were 14-12. They entered the regional playoffs ranked number three in the southern portion of the region.
As Graham sets his sights on the state title the Panthers won in 2006, he knows the road to state is paved with many talented, opposing teams.
“We have some tough teams coming our way this season,” he said. “Benedictine, because of the style they play, will be a tough opponent this season. They play tough, slow, methodical and very controlled. We’ve had some difficult times against them.
“Burke County has always been our rival team. They came into our sub-region around two years ago and it’s been good competition since,” he said.
The Panthers are relatively young this season, only five seniors return and only three of them were previous starters. But Graham feels the youth of his team is beneficial to having a winning attitude.
“Our team is still pretty young with only five seniors, but our juniors and sophomores bring a renewed sense of enthusiasm and energy to the game,” Graham said. “It re-ignites the energy in our senior and bring back some energy and fire to their game.”
Graham said he has several juniors and even sophomores who will be dressing out this season. He anticipates some of the younger players will probably average 16 minutes of playing time per game.
The Panthers had an intramural scrimmage on Saturday and will prepare for the regular season at the Joe Greene Tip-off Tournament on Nov. 20 against Savannah. The following day, they continue the tournament against Jenkins.
They will open up the regular season by traveling to Savannah on Nov. 30 to face Beach High.
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