The Long County Blue Tide and Liberty County Panthers basketball teams faced off against each other in the regular season finale on Friday, February 10. A lot was on the line for the teams as the Lady Panthers clinched the third seed in the region tournament with a 54-41 win while the Blue Tide boys continued their hot streak into the postseason, taking a 61-45 decision.
It was a tale of two halves in the girls matchup as the Lady Blue Tide let another halftime lead slip away in a big game. The first quarter was low scoring as the Panthers led 9-6, but it was the Lady Tide who had a lot to celebrate.
In the second quarter, Tide senior Jada Young grabbed her second rebound, bringing her career total to 1,000 and becoming just the second Lady Tide player to hit the mark. She joined current Lady Tide assistant coach Elexxus Wrighton in that historic category.
The Lady Tide also went on a 7-0 run to go up 15-12 and closed out the half on a 16-2 run to lead 24-14 at the half.
The Lady Panthers went on a 7-0 run in the third quarter to cut the Tide’s lead to 28-25 at the 3:00 mark. It was two-point lead for the Lady Tide going into the third, but the Panthers soon took over.
Thanks to a big third quarter by Destiny Grider and Asia Johnson’s back-to-back 3-pointers, Liberty took a 39-34 lead with 5:22 left.
Liberty County stretched its run to 12-4 and took a 48-38 lead with 1:31 left. The Lady Panthers kept the Tide off the board except for an Adryanna Harley 3.
For the Panthers, Johnson had 12 points and Grider had 15. Harley led with 16 points and Young scored nine points and grabbed nine rebounds, bringing her total to 1,007.
The Lady Panthers finish the regular season 16-7 and 12-4 in the region and the Lady Tide finish 16-8 and 11-5 in the region. Both teams will host the second round of the region tournament on Wednesday, February 15.
Liberty County will play the winner of St. Vincent’s and Johnson at 5 p.m. Wednesday while Long County will play the winner of the game between Beach and the winner of the play-in game between Savannah Christian and Groves.
In the boys game, the Panthers took a quick lead with Kordell Lewis hitting back-to-back 3s but getting in foul trouble early on with three fouls. The Blue Tide answered with five points each from CJ Glenn and Roderick Randall.
Liberty County led 16-14 going into the second quarter, but the Blue Tide opened the quarter on an 11-2 run to go up 25-18 with 3:30 left as Keshawn Smith added six points and the Tide led 25-22 at the half.
The Tide opened the second half on an 8-2 run to go up 33-24 and led by double digits going into the fourth. They were 7-of-9 from the free throw line as Smith and Glenn both added four points in the quarter.
The Panthers opened the fourth, however, on a 9-2 run and cut the Tide’s lead down to just five points with six minutes left as the Panthers called a timeout.
It was one final run that pushed the game out of reach for the Panthers as the Tide went up 51-40 on an 8-2 run and eventually extended it to a 15-5 spurt.
The Blue Tide finished the regular season 15-10 and 8-6 in the region. The Panthers finished the season 4-16 and 2-12 in the region.
Three Tide players scored in double digits as Randall led with 15 points, Glenn had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Smith added 12 points.
Lewis scored 12 points on four 3s and Elijah Brown led with 14 points.
The Tide and Panthers will go for round three in the first round of the region tournament on Tuesday, February 14 at Beach in Savannah. The winner of that game will face off with Calvary Day on Wednesday at Long County.