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Lady Tide sweep Portal Holiday Classic
Portals Breyonna Raymond scores while splitting four Long County defenders during the second quarter Tuesday at the Portal Holiday Classic. - photo by Scott Bryant/Statesboro Herald

The Long County girls’ basketball team got back on the winning track over the Christmas break by sweeping all three of its games in the Portal Holiday Classic.

The Lady Tide beat Emmanuel County Institute 65-40 Monday. They followed that with a 55-31 win over Portal on Tuesday, and then closed out the tournament Wednesday by beating Jenkins 58-43.

The leading scorers for Long County in the ECI game were Katie Estill, who had 18 points, and Elexxus Wrighton who added 16. In the Portal game, it was Wrighton who had 16, Kat Wingate 10 and Anazha Kinkaid and Estill, who chipped in eight apiece.

The Lady Tide started the Portal game on a 12-6 run, but the Lady Panthers battled back to tie the game at 14-14 with 5:45 left to play.

But Long County did not allow Portal to take the lead.

In the Jenkins game, it was Wrighton once again leading the way with 19 points, and Kincaid added seven.

The Lady Tide’s tournament success snapped a three-game losing streak and improved their overall record to 8-5. Head coach Brian Todd said the tournament helped his team get back where it needed to be with important region games approaching.

“I thought we got back on track during this holiday tournament,” Todd said. “We had hit a little bump in the road before the break. We made a shakeup in the lineup, adding Anazha (Kinkaid), and this provided a much-needed spark.”

Todd said Kinkaid’s vision helped the team during transition play because of her court awareness. He said he also put Patra London back in the lineup, now that she has recovered from an ACL injury, and her addition improved the team’s post play and solidified the bench.

“We want to carry this momentum over into the new year,” he said. “We have a great shot to position ourselves favorably heading into the region tournament.”

The Long County boys lost a heartbreaker to Portal in the Holiday Classic.

In the early stages of Tuesday’s game, it appeared the Blue Tide would cruise to victory after starting the game with a 10-2 run. Portal didn’t score its first basket until the 3:24 mark in the first quarter.

Long County continued to press the Panthers on defense, ending the first half up 35-15.

In the third quarter, the Panthers began to press and chip away at the Blue Tide lead.

The Panthers dominated in the second half to erase that 20-point deficit and force overtime, then completed the comeback 68-62 win.

Further information on the Long County boys’ recent games was requested but was not available by the Courier’s Saturday press deadline.

On Saturday, the Long County boys and girls took on Metter in non-region games in Ludowici. See Wednesday’s Courier for results from those games. On Tuesday, the Lady Tide are back at home again, taking on Bacon County (0-10) in a region contest at
6 p.m. The boys’ game follows at 7:30 against the Raiders (4-9).

This article contains information from the Statesboro Herald.

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