East continues ‘Classic’ play

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 29, 2003

AHOSKIE – Just call them giant killers.

For the third consecutive season, Northampton County High School – East knocked off a 3-A school to land themselves in the championship game of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald Holiday Classic.

In a fast and furious fourth frame during the final game of the first round Saturday evening, the Rams nudged defending Classic champion Bertie 47-45 when Adrian Sawyer buried a pair of free throws with 12 ticks remaining on the game clock.

The two shots from the charity stripe made the eighth different tie or lead change in the fourth quarter.

With the teams deadlocked at 32-all, Bertie’s Billy McShepard stepped outside and buried a trey to forge the Falcons into the lead, but Donal Barnes wouldn’t be outdone as he launched a trey from the other end to knot the score at 35.

Jermaine Norfleet hit back-to-back buckets to boost Bertie to a 39-35 lead, but Sawyer hit a three-pointer followed by a Mark Williams field goal to push the Rams to a 40-39 edge.

Ramon Maldonado then pushed his Falcons back to the lead with a free throw and bucket back-to-back.

Northampton answered when Barnes drilled a trey and Williams followed it with a hoop with 26 seconds left to give the Rams a 45-42 lead.

Not to be outdone, Casey Owens buried a three-pointer with 14 seconds to go that deadlocked the contest and set the stage for Sawyer’s heroics.

Early on it was all Bertie as the Falcons jumped out to a 14-4 first quarter advantage on the back of seven points from Jonathan Jackson.

The senior guard buried three straight free throws to open the game and had a pair of hoops during the Falcons’ game-opening run.

In addition, Norfleet had a hoop and a three-pointer during the spurt.

The Rams finally stopped the Falcon run when Williams and Seville Sandford hit consecutive shots to close the first quarter and cut the Bertie lead to 14-8.

Jackson hit three more free throws in a row to open the second quarter and was followed by a hoop from Norfleet to push the Falcons into a 19-8 lead.

Northampton answered with a 6-0 run thanks to a hoop from Sawyer and back-to-back buckets from Jeremey Taylor.

Following a Jackson bucket for Bertie, the Rams rolled off four straight thanks to a

pair of hoops from Sawyer to trim the Falcon lead to three (21-18).

It was a Pierre Spivey bucket with less than a minute remaining in the first half that pushed Bertie back to their six-point spread (24-18) at the intermission.

The Rams opened the second half on fire, going on a 10-0 run to claim the lead (28-24) for the first time.

While things were clicking on offense for the Rams, the Falcons were struggling as during that stretch, Bertie committed four turnovers and went 0-for-11 from the floor.

Five different Rams scored field goals during the streak as Sawyer, Tremaine Kwasikpui, Williams, Barnes and Sandford all scored for NCHS-East.

Bertie finally stopped the run with just under three minutes to play and responded with a 8-0 streak of their own highlighted by hoops from Terrill Holley and Spivey.

The Rams hit back-to-back-field goals to close out the third period and establish the 32-all deadlock.

&uot;I thought our play was above and beyond the call of duty,&uot; Rams’ rookie skipper Anthony Black said. &uot;We finally made some free throws.

&uot;I was also very impressed with Bertie,&uot; he added. &uot;Their level made us play better.&uot;

The Rams, who fell to Bertie in last year’s title game, will meet Hertford County – the team they beat two years ago when they won their only Classic championship.

NCHS-East (47)

Adrian Sawyer – 13, Mark Williams – 10, D. Barnes – 8, S. Sandford – 8, J. Taylor – 4, T. Kwasikpui – 2, B. Williams – 2

Bertie (45)

Jermaine Norfleet – 13, Jonathan Jackson – 13, R. Maldonado – 9, B. McShepard – 5, C. Owens – 3, T. Holley – 2