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Blue Tide boys hold off Panthers
Panthers suffer second region setback
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Tide sweep Liberty in big region tilt

Caleb Bailey


The Long County Blue Tide basketball teams welcomed in next-county region foe Liberty County on Tuesday, Jan 16 in what proved to be an exciting night of basketball. The Blue Tide got the best of the Panthers as they completed the sweep in the key region game, with the girls taking a 37-33 win and the boys prevailing 54-49.

In the girls game, the Lady Panthers immediately went to work. They opened on an 8-0 run, holding the Tide without points until the final minute of the quarter.

Five different Panthers scored in the first quarter while keeping the Tide at bay on the defensive side. The Tide missed their first eight shots before Cici Powe put in a layup at the 0:42 mark as the Panthers led 10-3 going into the second quarter.

The second quarter was just as low-scoring as the first, but the Lady Tide finally got something going.

Down 14-5, the Lady Tide went on an 8-2 run that closed out the first half. Imani Pouncey hit two big 3-pointers to cut Liberty County’s lead to just three points going into the break.

For the first five and a half minutes of the third quarter, neither team seemed to get something going as the score stood at 19-17. Maritza Troche then hit back-to-back 3s for the Panthers, opening up a 7-0 run that gave her team a 26-17 lead.

Serenity Garcia then connected on a tough layup with the foul to push the Panthers lead out to double-digits, the first and only of its kind for either team, at the 0:30 mark.

However, this is where the Lady Tide turned things on.

Down 31-22 going into the fourth quarter, the Lady Tide went on a 9-0 run (10-0 since the 0:30 mark) to tie the game. Ka’Mora Hollis hit one free throw to give the Panthers the lead again, but this was the last time they would have it.

Makinzie Moody hit a 3 to give the Lady Tide their first lead of the game, as they went up 34-32. She hit a second straight 3, her third of the quarter, to give the Tide a 37-32 lead.

They completed their 16-2 run since down by 10 to pull off the huge comeback victory. Freshman Zae Buckner was big for the Lady Tide, recording four steals and four rebounds in the fourth quarter.

Moody led the Tide with 16 points and three big 3s made in the fourth quarter. The Lady Tide have now won three straight games and sit at 6-8 and 5-2 in the region after starting the year 2-7.

The No. 7-ranked Blue Tide boys took the court riding a three-game losing streak while the 10th-ranked Panthers were trying to avoid their second straight region loss after falling to Johnson the Friday before.

It was all home team in the first quarter as the Blue Tide opened up with a 12-1 run before the Panthers called a timeout at the 3:18 mark of the quarter. The scoring was held to a minimum in the final half of the first quarter as the score stood at 13-3.

The Panthers opened the second quarter on a 9-1 run as they made the score 14-12 before the Tide called a timeout with 5:46 left to go in the half.

The Tide’s struggles from 3-point range continued as they missed their first seven shots before freshman Zion Thomas knocked one down to help spark an 8-0 run to close the second quarter as they were up 22-12.

Usually a deep ball threat, the Panthers were just 1-of-8 from three in the first half, but turned it on in the third as they went 3-of-6 from deep, one each from Jah’barri Felix, Aaron Brown, and Kordell Lewis.

The Tide led 34-24 going into the fourth quarter and built up to a 37-26 lead. Keanu Maynard then hit a big 3 while getting fouled to make the score 37-30 with 5:45 left to play.

Roderick Randall followed that up with a 3 of his own to push the Tide’s lead back out to 10 points. Elijah Brown connected on an and-1 three-point play to make the score 40-33.

Chuck Anderson followed up the Panthers’ three-point play with his own to push the lead back out to 10. The Panthers then went on a 7-0 run to make the game a one-possession lead with 1:45 left.

The Tide held on to a slim lead late, but the Panthers did all they could to get back into the game. Elijah Brown hit a 3 to make the score 51-49 with 21 seconds left.

Anderson went to the line and hit two free throws to make it a 4-point game and put it away with another free throw with 5 seconds left.

Randall led the Tide with 13 points while Anderson and Keshawn Smith each score 11 points and went a combined 12-of-17 from the charity stripe.

Now 12-4 and 3-3 in region play, the Tide’s region cycle starts over as they host Groves on Friday, Jan 19 for homecoming. 

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