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Blue Tide wins playoff in OT with shot as time expires
Justin Boyd passes the ball to Jimmy Bacon. The two players combined for 37 points in the Blue Tide’s 71-69 win. - photo by Mike Riddle / Coastal Courier
LUDOWICI — Whoa, Nellie, if anyone thought the Long County basketball team would have a “cushion” opponent in the first round of the state playoffs, they didn’t know anything about the Bleckley County Royals.
It took four complete quarters, a period of overtime, and a shot by Lazorous Baggs as time expired, for the Blue Tide boys to pick up the win, 71-69.
Despite a cold, rainy Friday night, the excitement in the gymnasium of Long County High School was as hot as it could be. But on this night, the home crowd new early, the Blue Tide boys were going to have a game on their hands. The score was 16-14, Long County, at the end of the first period.
In the second period, the Blue Tide appeared to get things rolling when they started the quarter with a 9-0 run to jump out to a 25-16 lead. They even managed to get out front by 10, when the score was 32-22.   But, led by Monterio Lindsey, the Royals outscored the Tide 10-3 over the last 2 minutes of the half to go in at the break down only 32-35.
In the third period the Royals continued to out rebound the home team, and outscored them 16-13, to take a tie 48-48 into the final quarter.
The final period went back and fourth, like two sluggers trying to win a boxing belt, and with less than a minute in the game, the visitors were on top of the Blue Tide 63-61.  But then Justin Boyd, hit a jump shot, with 27 second left in the fourth quarter, and into OT the two teams went.
In the four-minute overtime, the Blue Tide’s Jimmy Bacon went head-to-head with Lindsey, as each competitor put their team’s season on their shoulders.
Bacon scored all four of his team’s points, and tied the game at 69-69 with 26 second in the game. But the Royals had possession and with those 26 seconds, anything still could happen.  
As the Royals brought the ball down the court, Bacon stole it with 22 seconds left and without hesitation, Blue Tide head coach Deshon Brock called a timeout.
With 4 seconds left in the game Robert Gambles shot a jumper, which bounced off the rim. But Baggs got the rebound, and got his shot off the backboard and into the basket; as time expired, giving the Blue Tide the hard-fought win.
In the game, Baggs had 8 points, Ricky Rivera had 11, Bacon and Gamble had 14, and Justin Boyd led all Blue Tide players with 23 points.
On the other side of the court, Lindsey led all shooters in the game with 26 points.
After the game, Brock said, “That team’s performance doesn’t surprise me. They are a well coached team, and they came into the game ready to play”.
He added, “I am surprised at our team’s play, we were out-rebounded, out-hustled, and we got lucky tonight. I am not satisfied with our team’s effort”.
The Long County team will now face the Laney High School Wildcats.  The Wildcats have 19-9 record, and are coming off a solid win over the Cook Hornets, 61-49.  Laney will be led by Harold Doby, who had 23 points and 13 rebounds in that game.
The Blue Tide will play the Wildcats Tuesday in Ludowici. Game time is 7 p.m.
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