LUDOWICI -- The Long County Blue Tide basketball season officially tipped off on Friday, Nov. 19 as the teams hosted the Claxton Tigers. The Lady Tide fought hard but could not overcome an early deficit while the boys needed a second-quarter rally to pull away.
The Lady Tigers opened their game against the Tide with an 8-1 run, hitting big three-point shots to spark the run.
The Lady Tide did not hit a shot from the field until the 4:30 mark of the first quarter, but that was enough for them to go on their own run to make the score 15-10 over the next two minutes.
The Tigers then responded to close out the first quarter with a 7-0 run to go up 22-13 at the end of the high-scoring first period.
The Lady Tide seemed to come to a halt in the first half of the second quarter as they did not score for the first five minutes. The Tigers ended up going on a 14-3 run marking back to the first period as they took a 29-15 lead.
The Lady Tide would not say die however as junior Jada Young gave her team a boost with a big And-1 three-point play. This started an 8-2 run to cut the Tide’s deficit to 30-21 with a minute and a half left in the half.
The Tigers did keep the Tide off the board and added five points down the stretch to make the score 35-21, but the game felt much closer than the scoreboard showed.
The Tide opened the second half with another run, outscoring the Tigers 8-3 to get within ten again. As soon as the Tide finished their run, the Tigers jumped back out to a 13-point lead with two quick buckets on turnovers.
The Tide closed out the third quarter on a 6-0 run and added two more buckets at the start of the fourth to make the score 42-39 with just under seven minutes to go in the game.
In this run, the Tigers were held scoreless over four minutes of game time. They turned the tide quickly, however, as they hit a big three and scored on two quick lay-ups thanks to turnovers near the basket to push their lead to 51-39 with just under five minutes left.
The Tide did cut the score down to 53-47 with 2:11 left on another 8-2 run, but the Tigers outscored the Tide 8-0 in the most crucial part of the game, moving on to the 61-47 win.
Young led the Tide with a double-double, scoring 17 points and pulling down 12 rebounds.
The boys’ game started out much differently than the previous game as the teams combined for just eight points in the first quarter.
The Tide tried to get something going from three-point range in the first half, but only hit two of their nine attempts in the half. They trailed 5-3 going into the second.
Something seemed to click for the Tide in the second quarter as they finally got things clicking on offense. Down 15-7 with just over three minutes left in the quarter, the team went on an 8-2 run to make the score 17-15 in favor of the Tigers.
The Tide capped off their big run with a huge alley-oop dunk by senior Cameryn Johnson and a big three-point shot by sophomore Keshawn Smith.
The Tide’s two makes from three-point range came in the final three attempts as Smith and Jamel Brimlett connected from deep.
With a 20-18 lead coming in the second half, the Tide felt much more confident. Last season, the Tide scored an average of 18 points in the third quarter and this year started out no different.
They opened the third quarter with a 7-0 run, stretching their run from the end of the second quarter to 20-3, as they took a 27-18 lead three minutes into the half.
After scoring nearly as many points in the third quarter as they did in the first half, the Tide never looked back with a 36-25 lead going into the final quarter.
Senior Dwayne Rowe boosted his team and the raucous crowd with a huge throwdown dunk, which resulted in a three-point play to push the score to 44-33 with under four minutes left.
The Tide were hit with a technical foul after the dunk which helped the Tigers to an 8-2 run as they cut the score to 46-41 with 1:40 left in the game.
The home team, however, never gave up the lead again as they finished out the game on a 13-8 run to win their season opener 57-49.
Johnson led the team with 16 points as Brimlett added 12 of his own.
The Tide boys will play one game over the Thanksgiving break as they will participate in the Hugh McBride Tip-Off Showcase in Hazlehurst. They will play against Ware County on Monday, Nov. 22.
Both teams will be back in action on Wednesday, Dec. 1 as they host the Bacon County Red Raiders.