Liberty County High School coach Willie Graham isn’t sure why his Panthers dropped a 56-51 home game to Brunswick on Tuesday night.
“I am puzzled about what we did tonight,” Graham said. “We told them things not to do. Some of them have heard those things for four years and they forgot them in 30 seconds tonight. (But) as bad as we played we were only down by five points at the end of the game.”
The game started close with both teams changing baskets in the first minutes of the opening quarter.
But Liberty began to turn the ball over and Brunswick capitalized. The Pirates also were able to get extra shots at the basket by snagging offensive rebounds from the Panthers.
The result was that Brunswick’s offense began to surge and the Pirates took an 18-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Liberty clawed its way back into the game late in the second quarter. During the final two minutes of the half, the Panthers were able to manufacture points off turnovers and their transition game. When Sayvon Wilson blocked a Brunswick shot attempt and Shakur Cook was fouled cutting to the basket, Cook hit the back end of his foul shots and Liberty trailed 32-29 at halftime.
Brunswick came out on fire in the second half. The Pirates press forced turnovers and created a strong transition game for Brunswick, and the Pirates held Liberty to only six points in the third quarter.
With three minutes to go in the game, Michael Farrior canned a 3-pointer to make the score 53-45. Liberty regained the ball off a steal and Cook created an old fashioned three-point play by scoring off a layup and sinking the foul shot to make the score 54-48.
But Brunswick was able to take time off the clock and force Liberty to go to a man defense and foul to get the ball back.
Liberty falls to 10-4 overall and 0-2 in the region.
Farrior finished with 13 points for Liberty. Wilson contributed 12 points and Cook had nine points.
The Panthers travel to region rival Wayne County tonight.
“They are going to be a lot like McIntosh as far as being quick and athletic. It’s there too and that can make a difference. We are just going to have to be ready to play,” Graham said.
Liberty top scorers: Michael Farrior 13, Sayvon Wilson 12, Shakur Cook 9, Tabias Marion 7, Alton Sapp 4, Melvin King 4, Chris Guilfo 2