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Bears suffer heart-breaker

AHOSKIE – When it finally came, it was a heart breaker.

After starting the season with 11 consecutive victories, Hertford County’s varsity boys suffered a heartbreaking loss Tuesday, dropping a Northeastern Coastal Conference game 95-93 in overtime against Northeastern High School.

The loss was the second devastation suffered by the Bears in five minutes as they gave up a field goal with 10 seconds to play in regulation to send the game to overtime.

In the overtime session, the Eagles got off to a fast start, scoring the first four points thanks to Deronte McNeil’s field goal and pair of free throws.

The Bears came back to get within one on a hoop by LaMarcus Bond, but the advantage went to a pair on a free throw by Jeremy Banks, who scored a game-high 43 points for the visiting Eagles.

With 52 seconds to play in overtime, Hertford County’s Lamar Monger made a free throw followed by a hoop from Tydreke Powell that gave the Bears a 93-92 edge with 10 seconds to play.

Matt Dixon, who scored 19 points for the Eagles, hit a three-pointer with just three ticks left on the clock to lift the Eagles to victory.

Veteran Hertford County skipper Charles Simmons said he was pleased with his team’s effort, but wasn’t happy with their free throw shooting.

&uot;I thought our effort was good, but I wasn’t happy about shooting 11-for-29 at the free throw line,&uot; he said.

Simmons said the Eagles played very well and that their hot shooting night allowed them to run the floor with Hertford County.

&uot;I thought they would slow the tempo down, but they shot well enough to run the floor,&uot; Simmons said. &uot;Our transition game was not as effective as it has been most of the season.&uot;

In fact, the Bears got a bulk of their points in the paint during the contest, which is an unusual occurrence for a team loaded with shooters.

The contest showed signs of being a high-scoring affair from the tip-off.

Northeastern got out to a 5-2 lead only to see the Bears pull even at 8-all on a Powell hoop.

From there, the contest went back-and-forth through the early and middle portions of the period.

Northeastern began to pull away somewhat on a triple and a basket by Banks and then went on a 7-2 run with hoops from McNeil and Dixon and a triple from Dixon to make it 27-20 by the end of the first quarter.

The Eagles kept that advantage through much of the second quarter and then extended it on a 6-0 run late in the period to help take a 52-39 lead by the intermission.

HCHS made clear they were not backing down in the opening part of the third period, going on a 16-2 tear to take a one-point advantage (55-54) with four minutes to play in the quarter.

Bond poured in 10 points on the spurt while Powell added the other six for the Bears.

The Bears got the lead as high as three (60-57) after a Powell field goal and free throw, but Northeastern closed out the quarter on a 7-2 spurt to take a 64-62 lead into the final period.

In that last quarter, neither team could pull away from the other. Northeastern’s biggest lead was four (76-72) with four minutes to play.

The Bears didn’t take the lead until holding an 85-83 advantage with 25 second to play in the fourth quarter, which came on two LaMarcus Jenkins free throws.

McNeil hit the shot to send the game into overtime with 10 seconds to play in the fourth quarter.

Overall, Bond poured in 34 for the Bears while Jenkins had 16, Powell scored 15 points and Monger checked in with 12 points.

&uot;I think we needed an awakening,&uot; Simmons said. &uot;We were getting to the point we were getting a little cocky. I don’t have a problem with being a little cocky, but like I told them after the game, you have to come ready to play every night.&uot;

The Bears are 2-1 in the conference and 11-1 overall after the loss. Their next outing will be Saturday evening when they host Rocky Mount High School.

Northeastern (95): Jeremy Banks – 43, Deronte McNeil – 20, Matt Dixon – 19, J. Brumsey – 9, S. Morgan – 4

Hertford County (93): LaMarcus Bond – 34, LaMarcus Jenkins – 16, Tydreke Powell – 15, Lamar Monger – 12, A. Branch – 7, M. Burnell – 5, M. Henneghan – 4