LUDOWICI -- The Long County Blue Tide basketball teams hosted the New Hampstead Phoenix on Tuesday, Dec. 7 as they looked to bounce back from losses to Wayne County last week. The teams made late rallies but fell just short of pulling out the wins.
The Lady Tide took the court first after they lost to the Yellow Jackets the previous Friday. The team led Wayne County 15-10 at the half but fell after scoring just six points in the second half.
The game was back-and-forth most of the night and the first quarter showed just how good of a game it would be as the Lady Tide led 9-8 at the end of the first.
The Lady Phoenix finally built a lead in the second quarter as they went on a 7-0 run to go up 15-9 with 5:30 left in the half. The Lady Tide finally hit their first bucket at the five-minute mark.
With an 18-9 deficit, the Lady Tide stepped up and allowed just three points until the final possession of the half as they went on a 7-3 run to make the score 21-16.
The Lady Phoenix were able to get a buzzer-beating three off as they took an eight-point lead into the locker room. This is the second home game in a row the Lady Tide had a buzzer beater at the end of the first half.
The Lady Phoenix used their momentum from the end of the second half to go on a 7-0 run that started with that last-second shot. They led 28-16 with 6:45 left in the quarter.
Despite eventually trailing by as much as 14, the Lady Tide kept playing like it was a one-possession game. Jada Young connected on a tough three-point play to make the score 35-23 around the midway mark of the quarter.
This would not be the last big play Young would make for the Lady Tide as they trailed 43-33 going into the fourth.
The Tide opened the final quarter on a 6-2 run to make the score 45-39 and, after going down by 10 again, went on a 7-0 run to make it a three-point game with 2:35 left. This run was sparked by Young’s second three-point play and a big three-point shot by Imani Pouncey.
The Lady Phoenix built back up to a 58-49 lead, but a third three-point play by Young kept the team in the game with a minute left.
Senior Makayla Raimer hit a big three-point shot to make the score 58-55 with just under 30 seconds left in the game. The Lady Phoenix were able to hit two free throws from the line, however, as they put the game away by a score of 60-55.
Young had another huge game for the Tide, leading the team with 27 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks. With the loss, the team falls to 0-4, but has continued to make improvements with each game.
Now that the flag football season has ended, the team gets most of its players back at practice every day, which should lead to a big uptick in production.
The boys’ game ended in a similar way but started out much differently. The Phoenix came out hot as they built an early 21-6 lead in the first quarter.
The Phoenix built their lead thanks to an 11-0 run that included back-to-back three pointers. They led 23-8 at the end of the first quarter.
The Tide attempted to get something going in the second quarter and were able to go on an 8-0 run after trailing 37-17. The bulk of the scoring was on the shoulders of Dwayne Rowe - seven points - and Jamel Brimlett - 10 points.
The Tide trailed 41-27 at the half, but the second half went a little differently.
The Tide opened the third quarter on an 8-0 run to finally get back within single digits as they trailed 41-35 with 6:17 left, prompting a timeout by the Phoenix.
This was enough for the Phoenix to go on a run of their own to build a 51-37 lead with three minutes left. Late in the quarter, Rowe and Jacob Cooper made big plays for the Tide as they went on a 7-2 run to make the score 53-44 at the start of the fourth.
The Tide once again found themselves in a double-digit hole as the Phoenix went on a 6-0 run to open the final quarter and go up 59-44.
This was just enough for the Phoenix to hold on, but the Tide did not give up.
After just making one three points shot the previous three quarters, the Tide hit two of their three attempts down the stretch. They got the score within five points, but it was just too late as the Phoenix went on to the 74-67 victory.
In the loss, three Tide players scored in double digits. Trinity Gray had 15 points and eight rebounds. Rowe had 17 points, six rebounds and four assists. Brimlett led with 20 points and was 43 percent from three-point range.
The Tide drop their second straight game to fall to 3-2. Both teams will be on the road this weekend against Bacon County on Friday and Liberty County on Saturday.
They will return home for their last home game before the Christmas break against Wayne County on Tuesday, Dec. 14.