The Long County Blue Tide boys basketball team played in the first round of the AAA state playoffs Friday, but their season came to end against the Windsor Forest Knights. The Tide made a furious comeback in the second half, but their efforts fell short as they dropped the game by a final score of 71-62.
The Knights, who won their first region championship since 1989 out of Region 3, were determined to get going early. Their senior Zim Fields, who won Region 3-AAA Player of the Year, found open room and went end to end and put home a rim-rocking dunk that got the Windsor Forest faithful on their feet.
The Tide did not waver, however, as they trailed the No. 9 team in the state by just six at the end of the first quarter. The Knights got a good run going in the second quarter as they opened the period with a 15-2 run to take a 33-14 lead. The run was aided by the Knights going to the free throw line seven times in the period and they held a 34-16 lead at halftime.
Long County knew they needed to make a run in the second half if they wanted to get back to the Sweet Sixteen for the second straight season and the third time in four years. They did just that in the third quarter as they were hot from three-point range.
The Tide were 5-7 from three point range and went on a 15-3 run to cut their deficit to six midway through the third quarter. Tostadas Pouncey hit three of those big shots to amass nine of his 17 points while senior Nathan Francis hit two.
Down by four going into the fourth quarter, the Tide went on another run to tie the game at 46 and it looked like the Tide had a shot at possibly taking the game to overtime.
Unfortunately, the Knights went on a punishing 18-2 run, which included Shamar Norman sinking three straight three-point shots, to take a 64-48 lead. That lead was too much for the Tide to overcome, despite Trajan Weatherspoon scoring 11 of his 17 points while throwing down a nasty dunk, as they fell 71-62.
The loss drops the Tide’s final record to 13-16 on the year. They will now look to improve over the summer ahead of the 2019-20 season as they have to deal with the loss of seniors Nathan Francis and Khy Collins. Luckily, the Tide will have a large and experienced senior class with six juniors on the roster this year.