The Long County Blue Tide boys’ basketball team was riding the wave of a four-game win streak as they welcomed in region opponent Brantley County on Tuesday, January 12.The Tide struggled in the early goings of the game and that led the game to an extra period of play, but they still prevailed with a 61-54 win.
A little bit of early-week chaos came into play as the Lady Blue Tide announced they would have to reschedule their next three games, including Tuesday’s matchup, due to an exposure to COVID-19 in a game over the weekend.
The boys took the court much earlier than they are used to, but did not let that stop them from their game. The Tide has predicated themselves on getting open from three-point range and they did so early and often in the first quarter.
However, this strategy did not pay off for them in the first quarter as the team was just 1-6 from beyond the arc, while the Herons hit two of their three attempts. The Tide still led at the end of the first quarter 13-10.
The Tide’s struggles continued in the second quarter as they went 0-3 from three-point range and got out-rebounded by the Herons 10-2. The Herons also had no fouls called against them while the Tide committed four in the period.
The Herons took a 7-0 run down inside the final minute of the first half and were able to take a 25-23 lead going into the locker room, leaving the Tide’s home crowd a little shell shocked. Junior Cameryn Johnson was determined to keep his team in the game, however, as he led with eight points and three rebounds.
The third quarter was back-and-forth once again as the Tide seemed to finally get something going down low. Both Johnson and fellow junior Trinity Gray exploded inside the paint. Johnson pulled down three more rebounds and scored six points while Gray had four of his ten rebounds and put up four points in the quarter as the Tide raced back out to a 35-33 lead going into the final period.
The crowd was once again not disappointed with another hotly contested quarter. The Tide led by four midway through the quarter, but the Herons went on another 6-0 run to take the 41-39 lead with 4:25 left in the game.
Brantley County held the lead until there was less than a minute left in the game. Johnson made arguably the biggest play of the night as he finished a tough And-1 play to give his team the 47-46 lead with just 39 seconds left to play.
The Tide added another bucket to give themselves a three-point lead, but the Herons, led by point guard Alex Green, were able to tie the game with just seconds left on the clock. Green connected on an And-1 play of his own to knot the score at 49.
The final seconds rolled off the clock as the Tide’s last-second effort fell short and the game went into overtime. The Tide were from the beginning, jumping out with a 7-0 run to go up 56-49 before the Herons finally got on the board with a three-point shot.
The Tide continued to put a chokehold on the Herons as they outscored them 5-2 in the final minutes of the game to move to a 61-54 victory over a big region opponent.
The Tide were paced by Johnson, who finished the game with a game-high 24 points and eight rebounds. Gray had another big night as he recorded a double-double with 16 points, 12 in the second half, and 10 rebounds. He also added four blocks in the game.
The Blue Tide move to 6-3 with their fifth straight win dating back to December 10. They are now 2-0 in Region 1-AAA. They will be back home on Friday, January 15 as they host Pierce County. The Lady Tide will announce a rescheduling of that game at a later date.
Prior to the Brantley game the Blue Tide had an extended break for Christmas due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but on Friday, January 8, the teams finally got back to action as they opened the Region 1-AAA slate on the road against Tattnall County.
The Lady Tide had seven games canceled from December 15 to January 5, including two Christmas tournaments. The boys had five games canceled with them only missing one planned tournament. The teams were out of practice for two weeks until December 28.
The Lady Tide fell to the four-time defending region champion Tattnall County Battle Creek Warriors, 63-32. This is their fifth straight loss as they fall to 1-6 on the season and 0-1 in the region.
The boys had a pretty close matchup with their region rival in the first half. The Warriors led 18-16 at the end of the first quarter as senior Josh Valembrum led the Tide with 10 points in the period.
The Blue Tide was able to come back in the second quarter, out-scoring the Warriors 18-12 and leading 34-30 at the halftime break. Sophomore Jamel Brimlett hit two big three-point shots and had eight points in the quarter, while Valembrum led the Tide with 15 points.
The Tide exploded for 23 points in the third quarter and held the Warriors to 16, pushing their lead to 57-46. This offensive showing was led by a balanced attack with six players getting on the board for the Tide.
Long County scored another 17 points in the final period and held Tattnall County to just 11 points. They moved on to a 74-57 win to go to 4-3 overall and 1-0 in the region.
Valembrum had 21 points for the Tide while Brimlett had a great showing with three made three pointers and 14 points. Senior Tostadas Pouncey added 16 points.