The Long County High School boys basketball team defeated Pierce County on Friday, 60-55, in a hard-fought battle.
Although the Blue Tide walked away with a victory, the squads left fans guessing through more than three quarters of play. The score was 44-44 early in the fourth period, but with a little more than six minutes left to play, Jamal Anderson nailed a 3-pointer to put Long County up 47-44.
Pierce County took a turn with the ball, but the Tide’s Yusuf Gooding stole it back and drew a foul as he went for a layup. Gooding made one of the two free throws and the Blue Tide went up by 4 points with more than five minutes left in the game.
The Bears refused to quit, however, and during the next two and a half minutes they went on an 8-2 run to bring the score to 52-50. Both teams turned the ball over on their next possessions, so with more than a minute left in regulation the Tide got the ball back. Robert Reed went for the layup and missed but drew the foul. The senior put both free throws in the net, giving Long County a 54-53 lead and the packed gym went wild.
On the Bears’ next drive, they also drew a foul, but missed both free throws. The Tide’s Anderson nailed another 3-pointer, and Jarquez Payne stole the ball from a Pierce player and floated a field goal into the bucket, securing a 60-55 win for the home team.
Three Blue Tide players scored in double digits; Jaylen Futch put up 10 points, Robert Reed had 14, and Anderson had 21 points, five of which were 3-pointers.
“I’m happy we were able to finish the game. Jamal Anderson made a few mistakes early but was able to come back strong. Also Robert Reed played well and showed great leadership in this game,” Blue Tide head coach Deshon Brock said. “We still have got to work on our composure. Free throws almost cost us this game and we have got to improve on them.”
With the win, the Tide improved their overall record to 5-7 and their Region 2-AA record to 4-3. With the loss, the Bears fell to 2-8 overall and 2-5 in the region.
On Saturday Long County played a road game in Jesup against arch-rival Wayne County. Results will be in Wednesday’s Courier.