With Tennessee committed Jordan McRae sitting the bench and future University of Miami player Rion Brown being double teamed, it was up to the rest of the Panther roster to keep the team’s winning streak going.
Without missing a jump shot the Liberty County Panthers took a 76-55 win against the Battle Creek Warriors of Tattnall County Tuesday night at home.
Brown was held to 14 points. McRae is expected to be back in action Saturday in Washington County.
The Warriors were up by 2 with 1:43 left in the first, but a 2-point hit from the outside by senior Panther Greg Richardson and two from the line from Brown put the Hinesville team up by 2. Landing a buzzer beater was senior Panther Marcus Jefferson,
netting a 3-pointer to give the Liberty boys the 15-10 advantage.
To start the second quarter, Warrior Nick Overton returned the favor, opening the quarter with a trey. Panther Chris Riley teamed up with Brown on the inbound pass, hitting Brown under the net. Brown hit Riley back with a pass for a layup. Later Riley slapped in a rebound shot, earning 6 of his 8 points in the second quarter. The Panthers scored 21 points to the Warriors 12.
Sophomore forward Melvin King managed 8 points in the game, nearly all from the boards. In the third quarter, junior guard Tucory Rhodes hit the boards for 6 points and later tossed in 2 layups, including a toilet bowl, in the fourth.
Panther coach Willie Graham said he knew Tattnall would come at them strong and said he felt there were still errors made by his team.
"We didn’t really execute as easily as we should have," he said. "We have an offense that should have gotten us a lot of layups, but we turned out to be impatient in that respect. On the defensive end, we did pressure the ball a little bit better. But again we have to look at the competition and this was the kind of competition where it gives you that fake sense that we are doing things well, when we actually made a lot of mistakes. It just gives us more things to work on."
The Warriors did their best to stay in the battle, sinking in 27 points from the 3-point range, 15 points of those treys coming in the second half.
The trey hits came from DeShawn Davis (2), Nick Overton (3), Brian Harris (2) and one each from Tray McKever and Dominique McNeal.
Tattnall County coach Doug Hassol said the Panthers were able to stay on top because, "They shot until they missed."
"We never could keep them off the glass," he said. "We are 5-12 right now and we are struggling a little bit. But I’m proud of my guys. We are getting better. We are young and we are trying to get right for the tough ones. I’m tickled with them. They’ve had some adversity and they are not hanging their heads. We played the number one team… And I thought we hung with them fairly well so I’m proud of my guys."
The Panthers have tonight off but are headed to Washington County tomorrow, tipping off at 8:30 p.m. The boys are 19-0 overall and 6-0 in Region 3-AAA.
Rion Brown 14, Tucory Rhodes 10, Greg Richardson 9, Chris Riley, Melvin King and Julian Stokes each had 8