Long Beach Bearcats Head Basketball Coach Nick Coln discussing offensive strategy with Guard Vincent Hicks (#23) at Brother Peter Memorial Gymnasium on Tuesday, December 1, 2020. (Hunter Dawkins/The Gazebo Gazette via AP)

by Joseph W. Gex II & Hunter Dawkins

The Long Beach Bearcats made the quick trip across the Bay of St. Louis Bridge to take on the Saint Stanislaus Rock-a-chaws on Tuesday evening. Despite a couple of surges in the second half by the Rocks, the Bearcats held on for a 71-62 victory.

Long Beach Head Coach Nick Coln commented, “We started out 2-0 and lost seven in a row to 6A schools.  We’re trying to get back to what we do, which is play defense and try to share the ball on offense.  We’ve lost about six guys since August, so we have plenty of young guys; mainly playing guys with no experience.  St. Stanislaus shot the ball well and did the little things great, we have to get to the point where we can come into a place like this, know what to expect and take advantage of the situation.”

The Rocks took a narrow 16-15 lead despite Anthony Robinson’s three three-pointers after the first period, but crucial unforced errors such as errant passes, turnovers off the dribble, and defensive errors allowed Long Beach (3-7) to claim a 36-30 halftime advantage.

Robinson ended the first half with 15 points for Long Beach while Ja’Kobe Cameron led SSC with 11 points.

In the third period, Long Beach led by as much as ten points but the Rocks (0-8) cut the lead to four points twice in the period including when Leo Seal scored five consecutive points to cut the lead to 45-41 with 2:16 left in the period.

Robinson pushed the Bearcats’ lead to 53-41 with his bucket with 35 seconds left in the period.

In the fourth period, the Rocks cut the lead to four points once at 64-60 on Nour Tayara’s three-pointer with 1:19 left in the game but would not get any closer.

SSC head coach Aaron Dunklin stated, “We had good effort tonight and real consistent energy. We just need to play smarter and visualize the game. We have to improve on the little things and pay attention to details in the game. Our room for error is minimal so we have to place a great emphasis on alignment and assignment.”

Robinson led the Bearcats with 25 points followed by Zach Hodge with 16 and Kiesta Davis with 12 points.

The Rocks were paced by Nour Tayara with 21 points followed by Cameron with 14, Byron Krohn 14, and Leo Seal with 11 points for the scoring.