HCHS wins league crown

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 12, 2007

WINDSOR – There was just one obstacle in the way.

Hertford County needed only one win to secure their second consecutive Northeastern Coastal Conference basketball championship.

The obstacle standing in their way, however, was archrival Bertie in the Falcons home gym.

Despite a valiant effort by the underdog Falcons, Hertford County secured that league crown with an 80-77 victory here Friday night.

The Bears placed five in double figures and the Falcons answered with 39 points from senior standout Kent Bazemore as the teams battled to the wire.

HCHS held a comfortable 10-point margin (75-65) late in the contest, but the Falcons got a deuce and a three-pointer from Bazemore, getting them within five (75-70) with just 41 ticks left on the clock.

Bazemore hit another bucket and Darius Wesson, who also had double figures with 11 points, hit two free throws to get the Falcons within 78-74 at the 31-second mark.

Patrick Downing, however, hit 2-of-4 from the line to seal the victory, despite a late triple by Wesson that made it 80-77.

“We fell behind, but we didn’t quit,” Bertie coach Calvin Moore said. “We kept fighting to the end.”

Moore, however, said he felt the better team won the contest.

“Hertford County outplayed us and outran us,” he said. “The best team won. Congratulations to them on winning the conference championship. We’ll start looking toward the conference tournament.”

The Bears were led in the contest by LaMarcus “Buck” Jenkins, who had 18 points in the victory. Lamar Monger added 14 points while Marcus Burnell had 13, Downing had 11 and Darren Everette contributed 10 points.

“We played with a lot of intensity tonight,” HCHS basketball coach Charles Simmons said. “We do have to do a better job of protecting the basketball and making free throws down the stretch.”

The coach was pleased with the Bears’ play in the unfriendly atmosphere at Bertie.

“This was a very good win in a hostile environment,” he said. “I am proud of my team for winning the conference championship.”

In winning the league crown, HCHS finished 11-1 against competition in the Northeastern Coastal Conference. They are 21-2 overall heading into the league tournament.

The Bears get a first round bye for winning the title and will take the floor Wednesday night when they will meet the winner of Tuesday’s Pasquotank (#4 seed) and Currituck (#5 seed) contest. That game is slated to tip at 8 p.m.

Bertie finished with a 12-10 overall mark this season and finished 7-5 in the league. They will, like HCHS, be headed to the 3-A playoffs after the conference tournament.

The Falcons start the league tourney as they number three seed, meeting First Flight Tuesday night at a game slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. at Bertie High School.

HCHS (80): LaMarcus Jenkins n 18, Lamar Monger n 14, Marcus Burnell n 13, Patrick Downing n 11, Darren Everette n 10, A. Branch -7, T. Powell n 5, D. Dembry n 2

Bertie (77): Kent Bazemore n 39, Darius Wesson n 11, Dequan Williams n 10, Des. Williams n 4, B. Brown n 4, T. Bond n 3, W. Credle n 2, J. Jackson n 2, I. Brown – 2