Bears ‘threepeat’

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 16, 2004


– Once. Twice. Three times a champion.

Hertford County sealed their third straight Northeastern Coastal Conference crown with a 79-69 win over archrival Bertie here Friday night.

&uot;It’s good for our kids, the community, everybody,&uot; HCHS veteran basketball boss Charles Simmons said. &uot;Once we got in the Northeastern Coastal three years ago, we won the first one. Now our young men have to try each year to keep that going.&uot;

The visiting Falcons didn’t make it easy for the Bears to claim their share of the conference crown.

Bertie cut the HCHS lead to 56-53 thanks to back-to-back buckets by Jermaine Norfleet and Billy McShepard with just over five and a half minutes to play in the fourth quarter.

After an exchange of hoops, the Bears rolled off six unanswered to grab a 64-55 advantage.

Senior guard Reggie Wiggins started the spurt with a hoop just under the five-minute mark. Qwenton Valentine added a free throw before Lorenzo Benthall hit a bucket and a free throw.

The Falcons got back within four (66-62) after a Roshon Holley hoop with 2:37 to play, but the Bears went on a 7-0 run to put the game away.

Benthall started the spurt with a trey at the 2:20 mark and was followed by a bucket from Wiggins. Valentine added a pair of free throws to close out the spurt.

&uot;I was pleased with our intensity in the first half,&uot; Simmons said. &uot;In the third quarter we made some mental mistakes and let Bertie back in the game.

&uot;In the fourth quarter, we did a better job against the press and we made our free throws at the end,&uot; he added.

The intensity was evident in the first quarter when the Bears started the contest on a 7-2 run and sprinted to a 17-12 advantage at the end of the first.

HCHS scored the first four points thanks to free throws from Pert Simons and a field goal off the hands of Curt Jenkins.

Bertie rallied to tie the contest at 10-all thanks to a 6-0 run in which Norfleet, Holley and Casey Owens had buckets.

The Bears responded with a 7-0 spurt of their own sparked by a trey from Weyling White. Taydrek Powell and LaKendrick Lee had the other two hoops on the run.

Hertford County started the second quarter on an 11-0 run to grab a 28-12 advantage. Lee had six points during the spurt while White (3) and Benthall (2) added the other two hoops.

Bertie rallied in the third quarter thanks to a 9-2 run to start the third quarter. Antwon Valentine ended the streak at the six-minute mark with a bucket that trimmed the Bears’ advantage to 42-36.

The Falcons continued to rally, getting to within three (52-49) on a Ramon Maldonado bucket at the end of the period.

The victory not only sealed the top spot in the 3-A division for the Bears in the upcoming state playoffs, but lifted HCHS to 11-1 inside the league and 18-5 overall.

Hertford County (79)

Pert Simons – 18, Reggie Wiggins – 16, Lorenzo Benthall – 10, LaKendrick Lee – 10, Qwenton Valentine – 10, W. White – 6, C. Jenkins – 3, L. Bond – 2, L. Burnell – 2, T. Powell – 2

Bertie (69)

Roshon Holley – 21, Ramon Maldonado – 13, Jermaine Norfleet – 10, Jonathan Jackson – 10, B. McShepard – 6, K. Bazemore – 2, C. Owens – 2, P. Spivey – 2, A. Valentine – 2, M. Vinson – 1