by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher

A last fight for the season happened at the Long Beach High School gymnasium Tuesday night for the first round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) playoffs.  Unfortunately, the Bearcats boys basketball team could not get by the Jim Hill Tigers and lost 50-46.

Despite coming within one point in the final minute, the Jackson based high school came through with their athleticism.

“I thought we came out with a really good game plan, especially defensively,” said Long Beach Head Boys Basketball Coach Nick Coln.  “My big worry; as it has been all year, is scoring and making the easy shots.”

Even with the offensive struggle, the Bearcats (8-13) kept the game within three points in the first half.  Long Beach Freshman Zach Hodge put in 8 points, leaving the score 27-24 in favor of the Tigers at the half.

In the final period, three 3-point baskets from Bearcats Senior Anthony Robinson, Senior Jerritt Ruiz, and Sophomore Christian Spencer kept the game close, but the Tigers prevailed.

“Shots just didn’t fall at the right time, but we had to count on freshman and sophomore to hit baskets they’ve never had to hit before,” expressed Coln, who finished second in the 5A District in his first year coaching.  “Some of the guys we started tonight were on my Junior Varsity early in the season and the adversity we fought through as a team brought these guys up.”

This being the last season for Long Beach Point Guard Anthony Robinson, Coln reflected on his future.

“I think he will make his decision in a week or so,” according to Coln.  “I think he’s probably going to sign with a junior college as every one of them wants a 6-6 point guard and I personally think that would be a good choice because Mississippi JUCOs are nothing but Division I athletes, so that would give him a chance to mature a little bit.”

Hodge finished the game with 14 points for the Bearcats and Robinson had 7 along with a few assists.  The senior was double teamed the whole night for his all-star performance throughout the season and career.

Additionally, the Long Beach Lady Bearcats (6-12) completed their season Monday night on the road, ending their season on a 46-24 loss to the Forest Hill Lady Patriots.

Although the first half score was a mere 17-12 lead by the Lady Patriots, a 29-12 run in the second half ended hopes of advancing in the first round of the MHSAA 5A Playoffs.

“I thought we played a great first half with a solid pressure defense,” stated Long Beach Girls Head Basketball Coach Chris Odom.  “I thought we had some really good half court possessions that we can build on.”

Lady Bearcat Senior Bree Troup led the team with 8 points in the loss.

Due to the summer construction of the new gymnasium for Long Beach High School scheduled to be completed by the fall, Tuesday night’s game may be the last one in Long Beach history.