HCHS earns title spotPublished 1:01pm Wednesday, December 28, 2011
AHOSKIE – The tournament changed.
The Bears’ championship hopes did not.
Hertford County High School used a high-powered offense to earn a 76-38 decision over Gates County High School Tuesday night and thereby earn a bid to the finals of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald Holiday Classic sponsored by United Country Joe Murray Realty.
The Bears will meet a newcomer to the Classic when they square off with Plymouth High School in Thursday night’s finale.
Shabazz Atkins led the Bears with 23 points during Tuesday’s semifinal win. Dwight Vaughan chipped in a dozen and Jquwan Ruffin had 11. Jarrett Sexton rounded out those in double digits with 10.
Tommy Arline led Gates County with 11 while Jermel Williams had 10 for the Red Barons.
The contest was close and relatively high scoring over the first eight minutes.
The Bears got out to a 9-2 lead, but Gates County chipped into that advantage and trailed just 19-14 after one quarter.
The Bears got everyone involved early with scores from Ruffin, Sexton, Brian Beale and Willie Bass. The Red Barons countered with scores by Williams, who had the first seven points of the game for Gates.
Late in the quarter, Arline got in on the act, scoring the final five for the Barons to close the gap to five.
Sexton and Vaughan hit back-to-back buckets to start the second period and then the latter buried a triple that Gates answered only with a Nathaniel Simpson free throw as the Bears took their lead to double figures (26-15).
The Red Barons got successive hoops from Jermaine Holley and Williams, but the Bears went on a 16-3 tear over the final few minutes of the half to go into the locker room with a 42-22 edge.
HCHS started the third quarter on a 9-0 run that pushed the lead to 51-22 and the Bears never looked back, going on to a 60-31 lead after three quarters before taking the win.
In addition to those in double digits, the Bears got six from Beale, five from Wayne Simmons, four each from Bass and Dorrien Askew and one from Maurice Earley.
The Red Barons got nine from Simpson, three from River Hicks, two each from Deon Arline and Holley and one from Javon Rascoe.
Gates County played in the Consolation Game Wednesday. That game finished too late for press time.