Region tourney updates: Effort to repeat begins for Liberty County boys
The Panthers have not lost since a 76-65 loss to Charlotte Christian on Dec. 22 in the Chick-fil-a Classic in Columbia, S.C.
Stokes said the loss of LeCounte, an intergral part of the 2015-16 championship team, left a void that is hard to fill. But it’s not impossible.
“Difference between this year and last year, obviously is the big loss of Richard,” said Stokes. “With him bringing so many dynamics to the team offensively, defensively, vocally. He was a leader. His floor play, all of that is missing. But we are recovering, as a team, from that.”
“We have learned to play together more. We have learned to strap down a little more on our defense, and those are things I think will help us down the stretch. If we continue to do that, we will be fine.”
But first comes the region tournament. Liberty (17-5, 9-1) and Long County should meet in the region title game, but Stokes said anything can happen at this point in the season.
“Right now, the favorite matchup is us and No. 2 seed Long County,” Stokes said. “But you never know what can happen. So we are just going to take care of whoever we have on Thursday and let everything else fall where it falls.”
Several boys teams began region tournament play on Monday. Here are some highlights:
— Region 5: There were no surprises in the three region games played as No. 1 seeded Cedar Grove handled No. 8 McNair 79-44. No. 3-seeded Lovett took care of No. 6 seed Towers 80-68. Westminster, the No. 4 seed, squeaked by No. 5 seed Stone Mountain 44-41. No. 2 Pace Academy beat No. 7 seed Redan 69-46.
In girls games:
— Region 4: No. 4 Kendrick beat No. 5 Pike County 70-33 and will face No. 1 seed Peach County on Thursday at Central-Macon. No. 3 seed Westside-Macon moved past No. 6 seed Rutland 57-49 and will face winner of No. 2 seed Central-Macon vs. No. 7 seed Jackson on Thursday.
— Region 6: All of the top seeds moved to the next round. No. 2 (North) North Murray defeated No. 5 (South) Adairsville, 46-30 and will face Sonoraville on Wednesday. No. 3 (South) Sonoraville handled No. 4 (North) Murray County 44-41. No. 2 (South) Haralson County moved past No. 5 (North) Coahulla Creek 56-38 and will face Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe on Wednesday. No. 3 (North) Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe defeated No. 4 (South) Bremen 62-47.