The Long County Blue Tide basketball teams returned home on Friday, December 13 for their first region game of the year. The Tide faced off against Brantley County and the girls fell in a tough heartbreaker while the boys dominated from the very start.
The Lady Tide came into Friday’s game having lost their last two games by 21 and 16 points. Sitting at 1-6, they were desperate for a win, especially against a big region opponent like the Brantley County Lady Herons.
Long County came out hot in the first quarter. Sophomore CiCi Burke led her team, going 2-3 from the field and finishing the first quarter with four points and three rebounds. Freshman Jada Young sunk a buzzer-beating layup to push her team’s lead to 8-5.
The second quarter was a low-scoring one for the Tide as they were only able to put two points on the board. They held a slim 10-9 in the final minute of the half, but the Herons went on a 5-0 run to go up 14-10 at halftime.
The Herons opened up the second half on a 6-2 run, extending their run to 11-2 from the second quarter. They were sitting with a 20-12 lead, but that is when the Tide turned it on. They allowed just three points from the Herons for the rest of the quarter and opened up an 8-3 run that was started with senior Akiara Garland’s three-point shot.
The Herons led 23-20 at the start of the fourth quarter and opened up a 5-0 run to go up 28-20 with 5:41 left in the quarter. That run proved to be too much for the Tide as they eventually fell 30-27, but not before Garland’s potentially game-tying three fell just short of going in.
Garland led her team with eight points and was 2-5 from three point range. Burke had seven points and seven rebounds. With the loss, the Lady Tide fall to 1-7 and 0-1 in Region 2-AAA play. This is the third loss by three points or less for the Tide so far this year.
The boys’, who came into the game ranked number 10 in Sandy’s Spiel AAA rankings, game went much differently as they got a big boost from sophomore Cameryn Johnson in the first quarter. The game was tied at 10 early on, but they went on a 14-2 run to close the quarter, mostly thanks to Johnson’s 11 points and five rebounds as well as senior Samuel Turner’s eight points and four rebounds.
After the scoring frenzy by the Tide in the first quarter, things slowed to a snail’s pace in the first 2:30 of the second quarter as there was only two total points scored. Junior Tostadas Pouncey finally broke the drought with a huge three-point shot. The Tide went on a 10-0 run to end the half as they took a 37-17 lead into the locker room.
The Tide continued to dominate in the second half, as they built a 22-point lead, their biggest so far, thanks to a Pouncey three pointer with 0:07 left on the clock. They opened up the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run to build a 29-point lead, which began with two big shots by senior Trajan Weatherspoon and Pouncey’s third three of the game.
The Tide moved to a 70-49 win to move to 7-1 and 1-0 in the region. Johnson went for 14 points and 12 rebounds while Turner also added 14 and 10. Pouncey was 3-7 from three and led with 15 points. Weatherspoon contributed mightily in the second half, scoring eight points and recording six rebounds. Senior Donovan Sykes was 2-2 from three-point range as well.
The Blue Tide will play their final home game of 2019 on Tuesday, December 17 before going into the Christmas tournament season. They will host the McIntosh County Academy Buccaneers on Tuesday.