Long County High School’s Jamaal Anderson hit a layup at the buzzer to give the Blue Tide a 70-68 win over No. 2-ranked Vidalia on Tuesday in Ludowici.
The win proved the Tide can play with the best, Long County coach Deshon Brock said.
“Validation, we have validation now,” Brock said. “We knew when we played them before we were a better team, we just didn’t play well. Earlier in the year, we started off slow, but this game shows how well we can play when we play our best.”
Long County came out of the gate playing hard and aggressively, and it showed on the scoreboard as Henry Peoples scored eight first period points and the Tide outscored Vidalia, 19-7, in the first eight minutes.
The tide led, 34-24, at halftime, but in the third, the Indians fought back to tie the game, 46-46.
In the final period, the two teams went back and forth, but Vidalia built a 66-61 lead with little time left on the clock. That set the stage for late-game heroics. First, Long County’s Vanda Vareen hit a pair of free throws to pull the Tide to within three points, then Vidalia turned the ball over and Chris LaRochester went hard towards the goal to put in a layup and cut Vidalia’s lead to 66-65.
Vidalia answered with a bucket, and, with 27 seconds left, the visitors were back on top, 68-65, when LaRochester hit a 3-point shot to tie the game at 68-68.
Vidalia turned the ball over and Anderson drove to the net for the layup as time expired.
LaRochester led all scorers with 22 points while Peoples added 20 and Anderson finished with 10 points. Tra Hardy and Ramel Tompkins scored 13 each for the Indians, who also got 12 points from Devin Atkins and Cole Johnson and 10 from Raquan Reed.
Brock praised the play of LaRochester, Anderson and Johnnae Jones.
“Johnnae played really well,” Brock said. “It doesn’t show on the score board, but his hustling, rebounding and playing hard was a key to our win.”
With the Blue Tide’s win, the top three teams in the 2-AA standings are Vidalia (10-1 and 17-2 overall), Long County (7-2 and 10-5 overall), and Tattnall County (7-3 and 9-8 overall).
In the girl’s game, Vidalia defeated the Lady Tide, 47-21. The leading scorer for Long County was Jameka Boyd, who had nine points, while Troianna Murray and Raven Rose added four points, and Amandah Garvin and Brittany Hall put up two points.
Chassidy Byrd had 14 points and Trinity Hamm chipped in 10 for the Lady Indians.
“Jameka Boyd was in double digits tonight and Raven Rose played tough on defense,” Lady Tide coach Ryan Bailey said.
At 0-15, the Long County girls are still looking for their first win of the year. Tonight, both squads will take on Jeff Davis High School. The Lady Yellow Jackets are 15-1 and undefeated in the 2-AA Region. The boys are 0-8 in the region and 5-10 overall. The games are in Hazlehurst and begin at 6 p.m.