The Long County boys basketball team had a good season last year. The Blue Tide returned to prominence in Region 2-AA by bringing home another region championship and advancing into the state playoffs.
The region title was the fourth for the team under the leadership of coach Deshon Brock.
Though the boys posted a solid 20-8 record going into the playoffs, their post-season run ended abruptly as Lovett beat them 76-61 in the first round of the tournament.
This year, Long County moved up to Region 2-AAA and will now be challenging new teams for the crown. Brock said that whether their adversaries are 2015 state champions Liberty County or old foes like Benedictine Military School, their goal will be the same.
"My goal is to keep the momentum going that we started last season," Brock said. "We aspire to repeat as region champs and go further than we did last season in the state tournament. With B.C. and Vidalia in 2-AA, the region was tough. Now with Liberty, the defending state champion, along with Tattnall it’s just as tough, if not tougher. We will have to play good basketball in order to accomplish our goals."
The coach said that this year his team is strong at the guard position, but that there is one weakness that they will have to overcome if they are to be successful.
"I think our strength will be our depth at guard play," he said. "We will be able to run with anyone as long as we play together. However, with our size, we lost a couple of bigs last year due to graduation, transfers and early graduation with Jamin (Davis). So there isn’t a lot of size behind (Christian) Bass in the middle."
The coach said one advantage the team will have over teams in recent years is that several starters are returning.
"We return the bulk of our core players with Christian Bass, Henry Blair, Ryhiem Izzard, Stephon Hugley and Terry Smith all returning," Brock said. "We also have Kai Collins, Nate Francis and Tariq Carpenter expected to contribute this year."
The coach said both he and the players are ready for the season and will try to win the school’s first 2-AAA title.
"We are excited to start the season," he said. "I know there will be some challenges and ups and downs along the way, but I think those challenges build character and will help us to become battle tested come playoff time."
The Blue Tide tip off the regular season on Nov. 29 against Toombs County in Ludowici. Before then, the team has several scrimmages and a tournament. Their first will be on Saturday with the annual Blue and White inter-squad scrimmages. The junior varsity boys play at 3 p.m. with the varsity tipping off at 5:30. Admission is $3.