In one of their better performances on the hardwood this season, the Thomson High Bulldogs gave the visiting Liberty County Panthers all they could handle at the Dog House in Thomson last Saturday night. Despite a valiant effort on the part of the Bulldogs, it wasn't quite enough for them to pull off an upset of the Panthers. The final score was 71-63.
The loss was a difficult one for the Bulldogs and their longtime head coach Michael Thomas. For it puts them in virtually last place in the Region 3-AAA standings with a 0-2 record. Thomson suffered its first region loss of the season last Friday night when they were upended by Richmond Hill.
This week, the Bulldogs are playing in the Annual Richmond County Holiday Classic. Next week, they are competing in the Annual Swainsboro Christmas Tournament.
Against Liberty County, the Bulldogs were challenged like they haven't been this season. And surprisingly, they met the challenge well.
The challenge that confronted the Bulldogs the entire game was playing against three major college prospects in the likes of Jordan McRae, Rion Brown and Greg Richardson. McRae, 6-4 and Brown, 6-5, already have signed national letters of intent to play on the college level next season. McRae has verbally committed to the University of Tennessee, while Brown has committed to the University of Miami. Richardson, meanwhile, still hasn't decided where he'd like to play college basketball.
During the game against Thomson, Richardson drew the attention of Augusta State University head coach Dip Metress. He came early and stayed until the end.
The talented trio combined to score 49 points against the Bulldogs. They also helped to keep intact Liberty County's undefeated record, which is now at 11 games. The night before they played Thomson, Liberty County handed Washington County a big defeat.
One of Thomson's biggest star players was senior guard Deandre Williams, who led the Bulldogs with 23 points. Williams connected on six three-pointers against the Panthers.
Other Thomson scorers included: Lavance Yarbrough with 15, Joshua Daniels, 6, Ronkeem Sallywhite, 5, Rashod Berry, Ivan McNair, 4, Jonathon Atkins, 4 and Jimmy Jones, 2, respectively.
The game between Thomson and Liberty County stayed close until the Panthers managed to pull away in the fourth period. The Bulldogs and Panthers matched each other's performances on the offensive side of things in the first period -- each scoring 23 points in the first eight minutes of the game. By the end of the first half, both teams still were even at 39-39.
Thomson got down by eight points early in the third period, 49-41. But they didn't stay down. Instead, they fought back and got within three points of the Panthers before fourth period action took its toll on the Bulldogs.