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Upson-Lee withstands Tide's late 3-point barrage
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THOMASTON - The Long County Blue Tide basketball team went on the road to The Castle to take on Region 2-AAA runner-up Upson-Lee on Wednesday in the first round of the AAA state playoffs. A large early deficit seemed to be the difference in the game as the Tide fell in the final seconds 53-49 with the season coming to an end.

The Knights, who the Tide beat on the road in the Sweet Sixteen last season, led 9-6 going into the second quarter and opened up a 17-point lead early in the quarter.

They went on a 14-0 run to go up 23-6 with 2:45 left in the half and the Tide finally scored at the 2:30 mark of the second. They trailed 26-10 at the half.

For most of the 2023-24 season, the Tide have used halftime adjustments to come out strong in the third quarter. They did just that as they opened the quarter on a 7-0 run to get within 10 points of the Knights.

Zion Thomas connected on a tough layup with the foul to make it a six-point game midway through the quarter and it stayed that way as the Tide trailed 36-30 going into the fourth.

It was a cold three quarters from 3-point range for the Tide as they hit just one, but the fourth quarter was where they turned it on.

Roderick Randall hit his first of four in the fourth to cut the Knights’ lead down to seven. The Knights went on an 8-0 run - which was 12-3 to open the quarter - to make the score 48-33 with just over 5 minutes left in the game.

The Tide started to work their way back into the game as they scored four straight points. Then, Chuck Anderson hit back-to-back 3s to make the score 48-43 with 2:30 left in the game.

Keshawn Smith hit a 3 after the Knights ended the Tide’s 10-0 run to keep the Tide within striking distance. Randall then got the Tide as close as they had been since opening tip as he hit a big 3 to make the score 51-49 with 45 seconds on the clock.

The Knights kept the ball away from the Tide and hit two free throws with less than 10 seconds left on the clock.

The Tide finished the season 21-7. Anderson, Smith and Randall will all graduate in May, meaning the Tide will have to replace a big part of its core at the guard position.


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