Two separate games pitting Liberty County players against friendly foes from Long County yielded spectacular contests for the crowds as Liberty County edged out a 71-68 win against visiting Long County and First Presbyterian Christian Academy took its 38th straight victory against Faith Baptist of Ludowici, 89-75.
Liberty 71, Long 68
Aerial acrobatics were provided by Liberty standouts Rion Brown and Jordan McRae as the slam dunks and combination shots quickly propelled the home team to a 40-27 lead at halftime.
On the Long County side of the ball Norman Thompson kept finding the three-shot from the outside and Justin Boyd managed a controlled offense and defense for the Blue Tide.
In the second quarter the teams traded buckets with the Blue Tide whittling away at the Panthers’ lead as they battled for their first win of the season.
But Brown’s 26 points for the night helped eke out another Panther win earning the Liberty boys an 8-0 season.
The first time these two teams met, Liberty won 90-72.
The Panthers were scheduled to host McIntosh on Saturday and the Blue Tide was set to play at Tattnall over the weekend for their second region game.
The scores and highlights will be in Wednesday’s Courier.
FPCA 89, Faith 75
Just a few miles down the road, in the Homestown community, the undefeated Highlanders were up against the undefeated Crusaders of Faith Baptist. Tied at 61 entering the third quarter, the teams went shot for shot until the fourth when the Crusaders ran into foul trouble and Highlander DJ Felder turned his game up a notch to help his team go ahead for the 89-75 win.
Felder ended the night with 28 points to lead the Highlanders, while senior Crusader Aaron Power scored nine consecutive trey-shots to lead the Crusaders with 27.
"DJ (Felder) just killed us tonight," Crusaders coach Jared Sellars said after the game. "He played like a man in a high school game. He is the real deal. We need to work on our interior, our composure. We had an 11-point lead in the first half and we hit foul trouble. They were legitimate fouls and we just have to be smarter than that. It was definitely a good game. What I take away from it tonight is they were a little bit better coached."
Crusader Jaquez Motley aided the scoring drives, chipping in 26 points and AJ Ansley aided Felder’s efforts, adding 21 for the night."They are a good team. I didn’t know how good they were," Highlander coach David Jones said. "I have not seen a lot of teams that could lift off the floor and shoot the outside three the way they shot it. I mean they just lit it up.
"I think the difference was we controlled the defensive boards pretty good."
Jones said Felder had a great game, doing what was expected of him. He said Ansley continued to play consistently and Hakeem Golden did a tremendous job on the inside.
"The game could have gone either way," Jones said. "We didn’t play offense or defense very well in the first until we settled down."
Highlanders 89, Crusaders 75
DJ Felder 28, AJ Ansley 21, Mike Brown 10, Shavon Stoves 9, Hakeem Golden 8, Jordan Johnson 7, Mike Farrior 6
Aaron Power 27 (all trey shots), Jaquez Motley 26, Tracey Jester 10, Aaron Scott 4, JJ Frazier 3 (trey shot), Drew Domalik 3, Jamil Donovan 2
Lady Highlanders 66, Faith Baptist 55
The FPCA Lady Highlanders also took a victory against the visiting Faith Baptist squad, winning 66-55. Lady ’Landers Brianna Reece, Aliyah Wilson and Tera Alston led the scoring with 21, 17 and 11 points, respectively. Lady Highlander coach Rosby Frasier said they did well on offense and defense.
"We played all four quarters, hustling and we got excellent turnovers," she said. "We were able to turn those into layups like we’ve been focusing on. Less turnovers and converting the steals into points and that is what we did tonight."