The Long County Blue Tide basketball teams welcomed in the Beach Bulldogs for another big Region 3-AAA matchup on Friday, Jan. 12. The girls held off a late rally to win their second straight at 49-42 while the boys could not manage to end their losing streak in a double overtime 60-57 thriller.
It was a low-scoring contest in the girls’ game, but it looked like it would be a blowout early. The Lady Tide opened on a 9-0 run in the first 4:04 of the game, causing the Lady Bulldogs to call a timeout.
It was nearly six minutes of game time before the Lady Tide scored again. The Bulldogs got their first points of the game at the 2:46 mark of the first quarter, starting a 7-0 run.
During the Tide’s scoring drought, they were 0-of-9 from the field before Zae Buckner hit a shot at the 5:15 mark of the second quarter to put the Tide up 12-9. From there, the Tide outscored the Bulldogs 9-7 to close out the first half for a 21-16 lead.
The Bulldogs got within a possession of the Lady Tide in the third quarter before a 7-0 run, capped off by an Imani Pouncey 3-pointer, gave the Tide their first double-digit lead of the game, 30-20, at the 4:42 mark.
After a Bulldog timeout, the Tide added another bucket to go up 12. The Bulldogs then cut the Tide’s lead in half with a 6-0 run, which turned into a 10-2 run to close out the third quarter with the Tide leading 34-30.
Neither team could score for the first 2:30 of the fourth before Makinzie Moody connected on a layup with a foul to make the score 36-30.
The Tide never gave up the lead again, but the Bulldogs came close several times. Up two with less than 30 seconds on the clock, Moody went to the line again.
She was 1-of-2 from the free throw line to make the score 45-42. She forced another turnover and headed up an assist to Buckner to make the score 47-42 and put the game out of reach.
Pouncey was 3-of-6 from 3-point range with 16 points while Moody added 16 points and forced six turnovers.
The Lady Tide moved to 5-8 and 4-2 in the region.
The boys took the court looking to get back in the win column after losing a tough game to Calvary the week before. It was another low-scoring affair, something the Tide are not used to.
The Tide struggled from 3-point range all night, especially in the first quarter. They were 0-of-6 from beyond the arc and led just 10-7 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Bulldogs tied the game with a 3 at the 6:35 mark. Chuck Anderson finally hit a 3 for the Tide at the 4:10 mark as they were 0-of-10 before the make.
At this point, the Tide put in some bench players to help reserve minutes later in the game. Jonathan Talbert, Juju Clark, and freshman Zion Thomas all came in to help the Tide to an 11-0 run to put the team up 23-12 with under 3:30 to play in the second.
Talbert led the charge with six points in that run, but the Bulldogs outscored the Tide 9-4 to close the half and make the score 27-21 in favor of the Tide at the break.
Roderick Randall opened the second half on a tough three-point play make to put the Tide up 30-21, but from there the Bulldogs outscored the Tide 10-5.
The Tide went back to the 3 ball, but struggled mightily, going 0-of-7. They led 35-31 going into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter was another back-and-forth contest with the Bulldogs finally taking the lead at the 1:30 mark. A layup put them up 43-42.
With 55 seconds left on the clock, Anderson hit one of two foul shots to the game at 43-43.
The Bulldogs went 0-of-2 at the line 10 seconds later before the Tide missed a last-second jump shot to send the game into overtime, the Tide’s first overtime game since the Elite Eight game last season.
The first overtime period was hotly contested with Keshawn Smith hitting a tough layup to give the Tide a 47-45 lead with 2:20 left. The Bulldogs tied the game and had the ball with under 30 seconds left as the score stood at 49-49.
They called a timeout with 3 seconds left but missed their shot as the score was tied going into the second overtime.
The Bulldogs took a 53-51 lead with 1:56 left on the clock after hitting two free throws. Smith tied the game at 55-all with two free throws of his own and hit another layup to tie the game again at 57-57.
Beach hit a shot with 6 seconds on the clock to put the Bulldogs up 59-57 before Smith was fouled at half court, putting him on the line in the bonus.
Smith missed the first free throw, forcing him to miss the second and attempt to get a rebound with just 3 seconds left. The Tide could not come down with the rebound as the Bulldogs hit one more free throw to hold on.
Three Tide players finished with double-digit points as Smith led with 18 and six rebounds. Randall had 12 points and seven rebounds and Anderson had 10 points and four assists.
The Tide have now dropped three straight games and are 11-4 and 2-3 in the region. They will host the Liberty County Panthers, who are ranked in the top 10 and undefeated in region play, on Tuesday, Jan. 16.