HCHS earns final berth

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 22, 2008

ELIZABETH CITY – Hertford County High School had a date at home.

They just had to get there.

The top-seeded boy’s basketball team at HCHS needed just to knock off fifth-seeded Pasquotank County High School to earn a trip to the Northeastern Coastal Conference championship which was to be played in their own gym Friday night.

The Bears struggled defensively in the first half, but bounced back to defeat Pasquotank 77-63 in the semifinal matchup.

“We started out sluggishly,” HCHS basketball boss Charles Simmons said. “In the first half we were playing defense with our hands and not our feet.

“In the second half, we did a better job in transition and also did a better job defensively as a team,” he said.

The issue was in doubt until the fourth quarter despite a 29-point performance from HCHS senior Lamar Monger and a 20-point night from sophomore Antonio Vaughan.

The Bears held a tenuous six-point advantage (57-51) heading into the final quarter of play.

After exchanging hoops over the opening minutes of the fourth period, the Bears rolled off nine unanswered points to take control of the contest.

Monger started the spurt with a triple and was followed by hoops from Marcus Burnell and Vaughan before hitting a pair of free throws himself that pushed HCHS ahead 70-55 with 4:17 to play.

Pasquotank got a free throw from Brynson Barnes to stop the spurt, but Burnell scored again to help HCHS take a 72-56 lead late in the contest.

Hertford County went to the free throw line and got scores there from Monger and Vaughan to seal the victory. Jamal Jones then hit a hoop late to help the Bears earn a championship contest date with archrival Bertie High School.

In the early going, the Bears were able to take the lead. With the game tied at four-all, Deshawn Outlaw scored to spark an 8-0 run for the Bears. Monger, Burnell and Vaughan also scored during the spurt that pushed the Bears ahead 12-4.

The Panthers responded however when David Thomas wrapped a bucket and a triple around a Jaron Moore score for PCHS that trimmed their deficit to 12-11.

The teams battled back-and-forth over the next two minutes before Vaughan and Thomas exchanged triples as the first quarter closed with HCHS ahead 23-21.

The Bears were able to stretch their lead to 29-23 thanks to a Monger hoop and a triple by Vaughan, but Pasquotank scored seven straight points to take a 30-29 edge.

Vaughan then hit two shots at the charity stripe for HCHS and Outlaw found the mark form beyond the arc to help the Bears lead 34-30. They held that slight advantage at the intermission by leading 39-36.

In the third period, the Bears used a 9-2 spurt to take a nine-point edge and went on to lead by six heading into the fourth quarter.

The Bears are 21-2 overall after the victory.

HCHS (77): Lamar Monger n 29, Antonio Vaughan n 20, Deshawn Outlaw n 14, Marcus Burnell n 10, Jamal Jones n 4

PCHS (63): David Thomas n 13, Jaron Moore n 10, Cordero Riddick n 10, Melvin Boyce n 10, Jeremy Brackett n 6, Brynson Barnes n 5, C.J. Williams n 5, Raymond Walsh n 2, Delante Gallop – 2