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Bears win league tourney

AHOSKIE – Northeastern Coastal Conference champions.

For Hertford County High School’s varsity boys basketball team, that name has a feel of familiarity. The Bears won that title for the third consecutive time during the regular season in 2007-08 and then, on Friday night, added the tournament championship to their resume.

HCHS defeated archrival Bertie 92-51 in the championship game of the Northeastern Coastal Conference tournament and completed not only a sweep of their archrivals, but of the entire league as they finished with an unblemished mark of 14-0 against league teams.

“We had a great defensive effort tonight,” Bears’ boss Charles Simmons said. “We did a good job defending Bertie’s two big people.

“Offensively, we got our fast break going and we ran our half court sets very well,” he added. “I am proud of the whole team. They played extremely hard. We are happy to win the conference tournament championship.”

Bertie scored six of the first eight points thanks to a pair of hoops by Curtis Moore and another from Travis Bond, but Hertford County took control from there.

The Bears rolled off 16 unanswered points to surge ahead 18-6 and controlled the rest of the game.

Marcus Burnell started the spurt with back-to-back buckets before Deshawn Outlaw toed the free throw line and hit all three of his shots. Burnell came back with two more consecutive hoops before Antonio Vaughan scored from behind the arc and then again from the field to establish the 18-8 lead.

Bertie was able to chip away at the advantage when Bond scored again and Brandon Brown delivered a three-pointer, but got no closer than 10 (25-15) after a Tyson Perry score.

Vaughan hit a three-pointer and a free throw to end the first quarter with the Bears in control 29-15.

HCHS continued to roll in the second quarter when Outlaw scored followed by a three-pointer from Lamar Monger and another Vaughan hoop to make it 36-17.

The Falcons used a Moore hoop to get within 36-19, but the Bears went on a 13-1 spurt to pull away for good.

Outlaw scored the first hoop of the run, while Vaughan had a field goal and two three-pointers during the spurt. Jamal Jones added the last two points to make it 49-20. Hertford County led 53-25 at the intermission.

Bertie was able to cut the advantage to 26 (57-31) after back-to-back hoops from Dequan Williams and Desmond Williams, but HCHS scored the next six points and 12 of the next 14 to again put distance between the two teams.

After extending their advantage to 75-40 by the end of the third quarter, the Bears outscored Bertie 17-10 in the final quarter to end their regular season with a convincing victory.

Vaughan led HCHS with 26 points while Monger added 17. Burnell and Outlaw chipped in 16 each. Burnell had 14 rebounds for the Bears while Monger had 11 assists.

Brown and Dequan Williams led Bertie with seven points each.

The Bears finished the regular season 22-2 and while Bertie was 8-16.

After the contest, Lamar Monger was named Northeastern Coastal Conference Player of the Year and Simmons was named the league’s Coach of the Year.

Hertford County will begin the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A playoffs tonight (Tuesday) when they host Eastern Wayne at 7 p.m.

If the Bears win, they’ll be back at home Thursday.

HCHS (92): Antonio Vaughan n 26, Lamar Monger n 17, Marcus Burnell n 16, Deshawn Outlaw n 16, Jordan Jones n 4, Kysean Chamblee n 3, Shawn Reid n 2, Jamal Jones n 2, Michael Stephenson n 2, Shea Johnson n 2, Dominic Everett -2

Bertie (51): Brandon Brown n 7, Dequan Williams n 7, Curtis Moore n 6, Tyson Perry n 6, Desmond Williams n 6, Travis Bond n 4, Keon Moore n 4, Wykevin Bazemore n 3, O.J. Dobbin n 2, Chris Richardson n 2, Kwame Swain n 2, Norman Cherry – 2