The Thomson Bulldogs basketball teams looked to make a statement at Friday’s Region 3-AAAA game at Liberty County High School, and the girls’ overtime match proved to be a thriller.
With the game tied at 48, senior Lady Panther Jaelynn James made a steal for a layup, drove down court for another and went 2-of-3 at the line during overtime to help the Liberty girls to a 58-54 victory.
The Lady Bulldogs held a 16-9 lead after the first quarter and a 28-21 lead at the half. But the Lady Panthers kept fighting and started to feed the ball inside to Tia Fleming.
The 5-foot, 10-inch junior forward converted hitting 14 of her 23 points in the second half of the game.
James ignited the rally as well with a three-point shot in the third quarter to keep the Liberty girls within reach of the Lady Bulldogs. James finished the night with 19 points.
Liberty closed the third quarter up 41-36.
The Lady Bulldogs converted some late turnovers by the Lady Panthers, which helped them tie the game at the buzzer.
Overtime was a thrill a minute as the girls traded buckets until James found her groove with the steal and drew a foul.
The girls are 6-11 overall and 3-4 in the region.
In the boys’ matchup, it didn’t take long before Liberty’s Richard LeCounte leaped to a game-high 32 points against the Bulldogs. With Davion Mitchell’s 19-point contribution, the Panthers cruised to an 82-76 region win.
The Bulldogs battled, but the Panthers’ speed and accuracy was too much for Thomson’s defenses.
The Panther boys are 16-4 overall and 6-1 in the region. The Liberty teams have three region games left in the regular season. Tuesday night, the Panthers will be in Savannah at Windsor Forest High. The girls tip off at 6 p.m. and the boys’ game will follow.
LCHS girls: 9 12 20 7 10 — 58
THS girls: 16 12 8 12 6 — 54
Boys’ box score was not available.