Bears battle past Currituck

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 22, 2007

AHOSKIE – The Bears did it the way they always do.

Hertford County put four in double figures, played with defensive intensity and ran well in transition. In short, the Bears won again.

HCHS defeated a surprisingly tough Currituck team 78-72 Saturday night in a Northeastern Coastal Conference win that sets up tonight’s (Tuesday) showdown with league co-leader Northeastern.

“In the first half we had defensive intensity and ran our transition break well,” veteran HCHS basketball boss Charles Simmons said. “We made our free throws at the end to seal the win.”

Marcus Burnell led the Bears with 15 points while Antonio Branch and Darren Everette added 13 points each. Patrick Downing contributed 11 points.

With the Bears holding to a slim 6-4 lead midway through the first period, HCHS turned up the offensive heat, rolling off nine unanswered during a 15-4 run that pushed their lead into double figures.

Everette started the spurt with a free throw before Branch sandwiched a couple of buckets around a Lamar Monger hoop. When Branch hit two free throws near the end of the period, HCHS led 21-9.

Following consecutive hoops from Currituck’s Pierre Friendly and Tim Vinick, the Bears got a field goal and free throw from Andre Lyles.

Moments later the Bears put together an 8-0 run thanks in part to a triple from Downing and followed that up with a 6-0 spurt as Hertford County took a 38-16 advantage.

The Bears built their lead to 44-24 by the intermission.

Currituck chipped away at the lead early in the third period, going on an 11-0 run and following that with a 10-3 spurt that helped the Knights close within six (56-50) by the end of the third quarter.

Two free throws from Friendly got Currituck within four (56-52) with 7:40 to play, but HCHS went on a 7-0 run highlighted by a LaMarcus “Buck” Jenkins hoop that pushed the lead back to double figures at 63-52.

The Knights got within six by hitting two late buckets, but HCHS preserved the win to move to 15-2 on the year overall and 6-1 inside the conference. They will battle for solo possession of first place tonight when Northeastern visits.

HCHS (78): Marcus Burnell n 15, Antonio Branch n 13, Darren Everette n 13, Patrick Downing n 11, L. Jenkins n 8, L. Monger n 8, A. Lyles n 8, P. Moore n 2

Currituck (72): Jeremy Basnight n 23, Joe Molo n 10, J. Saunders n 9, S. Robinson n 8, D. White n 7, T. Vinick n 6, A. Lindsey n 5, P. Friendly – 4