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Lady Tide fall late to Bears, boys win fifth straight
Makayla Raimer
Makayla Raimer (5) handles the ball against Brantley County - photo by Gerald Thomas III

LUDOWICI -- The Long County Blue Tide basketball season is wrapping up and the team played two key games against region foe Pierce County on Tuesday, Feb. 1 in one of their final home games of the season.

The Lady Tide led by as much as 11 at one point in the second quarter, but a late first half rally by the Bears led to the 56-44 loss for the home squad. Despite the loss, one Tide player had a career game.

The first quarter was back-and-forth like many expected the game to be as neither team could really get the momentum. The Lady Tide went on a small 5-0 run to go up 12-6 and led 15-11 at the end of the first.

The Tide kept their momentum up in the second quarter as they held the Bears to just one point in the first four minutes and increased their lead to 19-12. Their run extended to 10-3 as they went up 25-14 with two minutes left in the quarter.

However, this is where the Bears turned their luck around as they outscored the Lady Tide 8-0 to end the half. After missing their first six attempts from three-point range, they finally hit one, their final attempt of the half, as the score stood at 25-22 Lady Tide going into the locker room.

Since being down by 11 in the second, the Lady Bears opened a 12-0 run to finally regain a 26-25 lead at the six-minute mark of the third. A three-point play extended their lead to 29-25.

All-told, their run was 19-0 since the two-minute mark of the second quarter as they took a 33-25 lead before the Tide got on the board for the first time in the second half with 3:25 left.

Their points came off Amiyah Simpkins’s three ball to cut the Bears’ lead to five points. Simpkins missed the previous two games, so her returning and nailing both of her three-point attempts in the third quarter was huge.

Jada Young opened her game and connected an And-1 play to bring her team within four and tied the game just seconds later to cap off a 10-2 run.

Simpkins hit her second three of the quarter with less than a minute left as the Tide led 38-37 after their 13-4 run to close the quarter.

The Bears started off the final period hot, going up 43-42 and then hitting back-to-back threes to extend their lead to 49-42 with less than four minutes left in the game.

They extended their lead with an 8-0 and capped it off with a three-point play to lead 54-42 at the 2:20 mark. They ended up holding the Tide to just two points over the final four minutes of the game to win 56-44.

The Lady Tide drop just their second game in the region and fall to 7-14 and 4-2 in the region. Despite the loss, Young had an incredible game for the Tide, recording a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks.

The Lady Tide are still in play to be the number one seed in the region tournament but will need some help down the line while also winning their final two region games.

Winning next Tuesday against Appling County and the following Friday against Tattnall County will clinch the second seed in the region tournament. Regardless, they have clinched their first state playoff berth since the 2018 season.

The boy’s game was back-and-forth like the girls, but there were much less points put on the board.

The boys came out hot, going up 8-3 to open the game, but the Bears were able to work their way into the game. They made the score 10-7, but the Tide were able to stay up and went up 19-11 to end the first.

The second quarter was much less exciting as neither team got on the board until the 4:30 mark. The Tide finally scored with three minutes left in the half as Cam Johnson connected on a tough lay-up.

Johnson continued to shine for the Tide, scoring all seven of their points in the second, including an And-1 layup late as the Tide led 26-20 going into the locker room.

The third quarter was still low scoring, but the Tide used that to their advantage. The Bears did work the score down to 31-29 at one point, but the Tide pulled away with a 7-0 run to end the quarter up 38-29.

The Tide worked to a 42-34 lead in the fourth before the Bears called a timeout, the first of the game. They switched to a press defense and ended up scoring five straight points down the stretch, including a big three pointer to make the score 42-39 with a minute left.

The Tide scored three points in the last minute as Kaleel Anderson hit two big free throws to put the game out of reach. The Tide moved to a 45-39 win, their fifth straight.

Johnson led with seven points, all in the second quarter, and added six rebounds and five blocks. Davion Henderson was also 2-4 from three with six points.

The Tide are now 11-9 and 3-3 on the year. They have clinched a state playoff berth for the seventh straight year.

The boys can clinch the two seed in the region by winning out and Brantley County losing their next two region games. Regardless, they will face off against the Herons in the semifinals of the region tournament.

The teams will wrap up their non-region schedule when they travel to Darien to face off against McIntosh County Academy on Saturday, Feb. 5 and host Appling County on Tuesday, Feb. 8 for Senior Night. 

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