LUDOWICI -- The Long County Blue Tide basketball season is starting to heat up and both teams have had good showings so far. Despite the 0-2 record, the Lady Tide has played well in both games and the boys have rolled to a 3-0 record.
On Wednesday, Dec. 1, the teams welcomed in Bacon County with the girls letting a lead slip through their fingers, while the boys got up early and never looked back.
The Lady Tide hit the court first and opened the game on a 6-0 run, paced by Imani Pouncey’s three-point play on a long field goal at the 6:15 mark for the first points of the game.
The Lady Tide opened the game with a 13-2 lead, but the Lady Raiders soon turned it around and went on their own run of 6-0 to make the score 13-8 with less than a minute remaining.
Amiyah Simpkins made a big play for the Tide, hitting a long three-pointer to put the team up 16-8 as they lead 16-11 going into the second quarter after the Raiders pulled down a rebound on a missed free throw.
The second quarter mostly belonged to the Raiders as they scored 22 points and held the Tide to just 11. The Raiders opened on a 7-3 run and finally took the 20-19 lead at the five-minute mark.
They went on another run, outscoring the Lady Tide 8-2 to go up 28-21 with just over two minutes left in the half.
The Lady Tide seemed to find their footing from long range in this game as they were 40 percent from three and hit two of their four attempts late in the half to cut the Raiders’ lead to 30-27.
The Raiders inbounded the ball in their own corner with 0.5 left on the clock and got up a three-point shot that went at the buzzer to give them a six-point lead going into the locker room.
The Lady Tide team has not been able to have a full practice as a full team lately as most of the team plays flag football as well and they are still on their state championship run.
This started to show in the second half as the Raiders went on a 9-0 run to go up 42-31 after the Lady Tide had cut the score to a two-point game.
Down the stretch, the Lady Tide went 2-10 from the free throw line, which affected the score greatly and could have put them in a position to tie the game early in the fourth quarter.
Despite their struggles in the third, the Lady Tide put together an 11-4 run to make the score 48-43 with 2:40 left in the game. The Raiders hit a big three-point shot to put the game out of reach as they moved on to the 53-46 victory.
In the game, Simpkins led with 14 points and recorded four steals. The team finished 31.8 percent from three-point range, but only hit one of their seven attempts in the second half.
The boys hit the court next and were immediately ready to pull away from the Raiders. The team is dealing with a few injuries with point guards Keshawn Smith and Davion Henderson missing the game with a jaw and foot injury respectively.
Despite this, they looked to take an early lead and were paced by seniors Dwayne Rowe and Cam Johnson. Rowe hit a three-pointer early and Johnson threw down a dunk on an offensive rebound.
Later in the first quarter, however, the Tide were dealt another blow as Johnson seemed to roll his ankle and limped off the court under his own power. He did not return for the game, leaving junior Cam’ron Rosa to step up in his place.
And step up he did.
While only scoring six points in the first half, Rosa was nearly perfect from the free-throw line and played tough defense down the stretch.
The Tide let the emotions get the best of them late in the second quarter as they were hit with two technical fouls in a stretch of ninety seconds. This allowed the Raiders to cut the Tide’s lead to one point with the Tide up 25-24.
They led 28-24 at the half after Roderick Randall’s big three-point shot to close out the quarter.
The Tide opened the second half on an 11-4 run to go up 39-28 and never really looked back from there as they led 43-34 at the close of the quarter. Rosa and Rowe both had four points in the quarter and again played big defense.
The Raiders did open the high-scoring fourth quarter on a 6-0 run to make the score 43-40 two minutes in, but the Tide never gave up the lead.
The Tide outscored the Raiders 18-10 in the final six minutes to move on to the 61-50 win. Rowe had his best quarter with eight points and a huge dunk to get the crowd on their feet again.
Rowe led the Tide with 25 points while Rosa recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Khaleel Anderson also got in double digits with 10 points all in the second half.The Tide is now 3-0 on the year and will be back in action on Friday, Dec. 3 at Wayne County in a big rivalry game.