Long County continued rolling along early in the basketball season Saturday, beating Appling County 86-53 in Baxley.
The win was the fourth in a row for the Blue Tide as they improved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in Region 2-AA. According to this week’s MaxPreps/Power Poll, the Long County boys are ranked as the No. 16 AA team in the state.
Head coach Deshon Brock said there are two primary reasons why his team is having success early in the season.
“We are getting better every game,” Brock said. “We still have some areas of concern that we must correct, but we are getting better and the effort is there. We have guys that love to play the game of basketball, and it makes my job easier as a coach when I don’t have to coach effort.
“Secondly our depth is a strong point,” he said. “Our second unit, as I affectionately call them, can easily be our starting five, but they are selfless and sacrifice for the betterment of the team, and that’s a wonderful thing.”
In the Appling game, both the starters and second unit had solid games, Brock said.
“The entire second unit of Xavier Stapleton, Terry Smith, Ryhiem Izzard, Stephon Hugley, and Christian Bass played great. The starters came out hot and then the second unit came in and took over the game, the pressure and the intensity was the difference in the game,” Brock said.
Leading scorers in the Pirate game were Stapleton (18 points), Smith (12), Bass (11) and Shaw (9).
Friday, Long County picked up its second region win of the year, defeating McIntosh County in Ludowici. The Blue Tide took a 32-22 lead into the half and never looked back.
The final was 71-54. Leading scorers were Bass (14) and Brendon Scott, (12). Other notable scorers were Khy Collins, Shaw and Blair, who each had seven points.
Brock said defense was the difference in the game.
“I think our defensive intensity and ability to limit them to one shot per possession was big,” the coach said. “We were able to force turnovers while cutting down on our own.”
Brock said he was pleased with the effort of Scott, Bass, Hugley and Blair against the Buccaneers.
In junior varsity action, the Tide also swept McIntosh and Appling, and Brock praised the players and the coaches.
“I want to recognize my JV and my two assistant coaches, Ryan Morgan and Nick Thompson. They don’t get a lot of the limelight, but I appreciate them for all that they do for me and this program. The JV team played great against McIntosh and Appling,” Brock said.
This week, Long County faces two tough region opponents. Tuesday, they were to play No. 4 Vidalia High School (5-0 overall and 1-0 in the region). Results will be in this Sunday’s paper. Friday, the Blue Tide play Bryan County (3-0 and 1-0) in Pembroke. That game is scheduled to start at 8 p.m.