As rain turned to snow outside the Liberty County High School gym on Friday night, the Panthers turned the Wildcats on their tails. LCHS toppled the Richmond Hill squads 59-50 and 65-56, giving the Liberty girls and boys victories, respectively.
Lady Panthers 59,
Lady Wildcats 50
Richmond Hills’ Tyler Carlson opened with a 3-pointer and teammate Keisha Durham dropped in another to put the Wildcats up 6-0. The visitors garnered another 2 points to go up 8-0 before the home team scored its first layup. Richmond Hill had a 13-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Soon enough, though, Liberty’s defense came alive and Anika Taylor hit a 3-pointer from the outside. Miata Askew followed with a trey shot of her own from the middle and Diamone Johnson hit three layups. Kourtney Alexander went to the line twice, managing a perfect 4 of 4. The Liberty girls’ offense knocked in 25 points to the Wildcats’ 9 and led 32-22 at the break.
Askew hit another trey shot in the third, and the Liberty girls never relinquished the lead. They beat the Lady Wildcats 59-50.
Seniors Jessica Barbary, Alexander and Miata Askew were honored after the victory. They received flowers and gift cards from their families and coach Carolyn Kelly.
The victory puts the girls in second place, but the seeding for region playoffs won’t be finalized until the games that were postponed by Friday’s snow are completed. The region tournament starts Tuesday at West Laurens High School.If the Lady Panthers hold on to Region 3-AAA’s No. 2 spot, they will play at 4 p.m. Friday.
Lady Panthers 7 32 47-59Lady Wildcats 13 22 34-50
Lady Panther lead scorers: Kourntey Alexander 16, Diamone Johnson 15, Courtney Rhodes 9, Miata Askew 8
Lady Wildcat lead scorers: Tyler Carlson 20, Dajah Davis 12
Senior Panthers Rion Brown, Solomon Ball, Marcus Jefferson, Jevon Jones, Clyde Layton, Jordan McRae, Greg Richardson and Chris Riley were honored before tip-off Friday.
Inside the locker room, the boys did their pre-game warm up and even took a light-hearted moment to show off their dance moves. Next, the team warmed up the crowd by pulling off a 65-56 win at home to hold their 3-AAA top spot.
Richmond Hill struck first when Vernon Jackson launched a 3-pointer. Two other Wildcats hit easy layups. However, the Panthers battled back. Julian Stokes, Chris Riley and Rion Brown got quick 2s and Tucory Rhodes hit two at the line. Panther Greg Richardson also hit a free throw as did Brown, who followed up with a layup to bring the Panthers back up 12-7.
The Wildcats rallied for 7 points and the first quarter closed tied at 14.
Richmond Hill’s action was limited after that, however. Panther Greg Richardson hit three from the trey range and was four of five for free throws. Brown was four of six at the line and scored 4 more points. McRae scored 13 of his 15 in the second half and the boys extended their lead to 46-39 by the close of the third.
Many starters rested on the bench during the fourth quarter. And, while they Wildcats rallied with 17 points, the Panther were able to drop in 19 of their own for the 65-56 win.
The Panther boys still hold the top spot, but Washington County has an opportunity to tie it. Their game Friday night against Baldwin was canceled and they were scheduled to play Richmond Hill yesterday. They’ll have to make up the game against Baldwin no later than Monday because the region tournament starts Tuesday.
If Liberty keeps the top spot, they’ll play at 8:30 p.m. Friday. If the Panthers tie WACO and a coin toss puts them in the No. 2 spot, they’ll play at 5:30 p.m. Friday. The region tournament will be hosted by West Laurens High School.
Panthers 14 38 46-65Wildcats 14 28 39-56
Panther lead scorers: Rion Brown 19, Jordan McRae 15, Greg Richardson 13, Tucory Rhodes 10.
Wildcat lead scorers: Vernon Jackson 13, Robbie Bynum 11