Second big matchup on the boy’s side, Liberty Heights and The Burlington School matched up for the first time this season in Rock Hill. It brought a ton of big-time talent to the court and both teams were hoping to make a statement tonight. Liberty Heights had the height advantage and they looked to attack with it early, while PJ Edwards got off to an impressive start with his shot-making. The Burlington School though continued to attack and knock down shots, as they found themselves only down two after the first quarter, 13-11. Liberty Heights though came out strong in the second, quickly jumping out to a double-digit lead just a few minutes into the quarter. They were led by their leader in Jonas Aidoo, who was active offensively and on the boards. Justin Brown also stepped up with three big threes in the second to help hold their lead. The Burlington School though never let them break away, with Kuluel Mading scoring well at the rim and a big three late. It helped cut Liberty Heights’ lead to 35-27 at halftime.
It wasn’t the offensive game that we saw much of the first half, as both teams struggled to find success in scoring. There were a few stoppages in the game but it got extremely interesting with 0.7 left in the 3rd. Zion Walker was fouled shooting a three and capitalized on all of them and then a late turnover and score by Mading made it 47-43 at the end of the third. Heading into the fourth, it seemed like anyone’s game, as The Burlington School picked up the defense and created some early turnovers. But Liberty Heights was able to keep their six-point cushion for much of the fourth. Coming down to the final minutes of the game, the game was still up for grabs. The Burlington School was still able to create some late turnovers and then getting to the free-throw line, cutting it down to two points in the final seconds. The Burlington School had a final chance and a late tip-in by Ryan Roberts pushed this game into overtime at 55.
In overtime, scoring didn’t come easy for either team and it looked to be a free-throw battle. Liberty Heights continued to win that battle from the line but TBS made some late shots to make it interesting, it just wasn’t enough, as Liberty Heights secured the hard-fought 67-63 win.
PJ Edwards 18 points
Elijah Jamison 13 points
Jonas Aidoo 10 points
Jeremy Baker 11 points
Jamarii Thomas 18 points
Kuluel Mading 12 points
Zion Walker 9 points
Ryan Roberts 8 points
2021 Jonas Aidoo (Liberty): Aidoo had the size advantage and did what he needed to do, making a wall on the defensive end, getting on the offensive and defensive boards, and finishing well around the rim. Loved his awareness and what he was able to do with second-chance opportunities. But he of course made it difficult for Burlington School to attack and finish at the hoop.
2021 PJ Edwards (Liberty): Edwards has put back-to-back stellar performances, especially on the offensive ends, in Rock Hill. He is just so efficient on the floor and his ability to knock down shots with his jumper on multiple levels in impressive and you can see his confidence. He has played really well in the last week and continues to be a staple piece for Liberty Heights.
2021 Kuluel Mading (Burlington): Mading had his hands full tonight but think he did a solid job on both sides, making himself long and being disruptive on the defensive end as well as being aggressive on the boards. But he also moved well without the ball, making himself open and getting some easy baskets. Really liked his activity tonight.
2022 Ryan Roberts (Burlington): Roberts capture my eyes with his play, really playing hard on both sides and leaving it out there on the court; never quitting. He did knock down shots when needed from behind the arc but also got the big-tip in at the buzzer to send it into overtime. Played well for his team today.