The tournament’s host team is playing on the final day, but it’s suiting up a few hours earlier than it hoped.
Playing in their home gym, the Butler boys lost to Liberty County 79-68 in a Region 3-AAAA Tournament semifinal on Tuesday. Liberty County will play Glenn Hills at 8:30 tonight for the region championship.
With the defeat, the Bulldogs match up against Richmond Academy in today’s consolation game at 5:30 p.m., when the third and fourth seeds from the region will be decided.
“We’ll learn from what we did wrong,” Bulldogs coach Cervantes Boddy said. “We’ll get ready for the next game.”
Butler (9-18) didn’t get enough stops on defense, allowing close looks inside as the Panthers scored 43 points in the first half to lead by 13. Liberty County never trailed in the second half.
Five Panthers had at least two field goals in the opening 16 minutes, with Davion Mitchell’s 12 points the largest contribution.
He didn’t slow down in the second half, either.
With the Bulldogs closing to 72-68 after a Sandrez Evans free throw, Mitchell took over. He made five of his last six foul shots in the game to reach a total of 10 in the fourth quarter.
Mitchell had 27 points in the game, but was just one of four Liberty County players to reach double figures.
From the other bench, Butler stayed close early using its own good foul shooting.
Don Coleman converted 11 consecutive at the free-throw line at one stretch.
Coleman put up 28 points in the game, but Butler never fully recovered after Liberty County closed the first half on a 22-5 run.