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HCHS wins Classic

AHOSKIE n Coming into the championship game, not many people gave Bertie a chance.

One person who did was Hertford County High School varsity boy’s coach Charles Simmons.

Before the title game of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald Holiday Classic sponsored by United Country Joe Murray Realty tipped, Simmons made it clear he knew the Falcons would come to play.

He was right.

He also said he felt his team would be ready to go as well.

Again, Simmons was correct.

What followed was 32 minutes of up-tempo, in-your-face defensive basketball that saw the lead change hands, momentum swing and both teams leave everything they had on the floor.

When the dust settled, Hertford County had claimed Classic championship number 11 with a 69-65 victory over rival Bertie.

“Bertie came out ready to play tonight,” Simmons said afterwards. “It was a typical archrival basketball game.”

And it was a typical ending for a Classic championship game, coming down to the final seconds before the game was decided.

Bertie, who led much of the first half, trailed by three heading into the fourth quarter, but HCHS quickly pushed the advantage to six (55-49) thanks to a hoop by Tydreke Powell and Danny Dembry free throw.

The Falcons wouldn’t fold, however, as Kent Bazemore and Brandon Brown hit back-to-back buckets to get the lead down to a couple (55-53).

The teams exchanged hoops before LaMarcus “Buck” Jenkins and Powell hit consecutive baskets to get the HCHS lead up to 63-56.

Bazemore and Dequan Williams sandwiched Falcons hoops around a Lamar Monger basket for the Bears to get Bertie within 65-60 with 2:09 to play in the contest.

The Falcons then whittled the lead to three (66-63) on a hop by Brown and a Desmond Williams free throw.

Hertford County, however, hit three of their four free throws in the closing seconds, all coming from Marcus Burnell, to preserve the win.

Brown did hit a shot in the closing seconds to make it 69-65, but that was the best BHS could do.

“I thought we showed a lot of poise at the end of the game,” Simmons said. “Over-all, it was good to be able to win another News-Herald Classic championship.”

The contest began in typical fashion, with the crowd and players hyped and the lead changing hands three times in the opening two minutes.

Bertie, however, was the team that settled down first, using a late 7-2 run to help close out the first quarter with a 22-18 lead.

The Falcons built on that lead as the second quarter opened, getting a hoop from Brown and a free throw by Bazemore to surge ahead 25-18.

It was then HCHS hit its groove, rolling off the next eight points in a row to take a 26-25 lead. Monger spearheaded the spurt with four of the eight points.

Bertie responded with back-to-back hoops from Bazemore and a Jermaine Jackson hoop to go ahead 31-26.

The cushion was short-lived however, as HCHS went on a 6-0 run to surge back in front 36-34.

It looked like the Bears would take a two-point lead into the lockerroom, but Bazemore hit a three-pointer as the horn sounded to end the first half, giving Bertie a 39-38 advantage.

The Falcons were in front 47-43 midway through the third period when the Bears began their final assault.

Monger hit a hoop followed by Jenkins scoring and getting fouled to put the Bears in front. Jenkins added two free throws and Powell hit one from the charity stripe to give Hertford County a 51-47 lead. They led 52-49 after three quarters.

In all, the two teams put six players on the All-Tournament Team. Monger was named the MVP and was joined on the squad by Jenkins, Powell and Burnell from HCHS. Bazemore and Brown were named from Bertie.

HCHS (69): Lamar Monger n 24, LaMarcus Jenkins n 16, Tydreke Powell n 12, M. Burnell n 7, D. Everette n 6, D. Dembry n 4

Bertie (65): Kent Bazemore n 28, Brandon Brown n 13, T. Bond n 8, Deq. Williams n 6, Des. Williams n 5, J. Jackson n 2, I. Brown n 2, W. Credle – 1