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Lady Falcons survive

WINDSOR – It was almost the one they let slip away.

The Lady Falcons of Bertie High School held off a furious comeback by the Lady Vikings of Kinston, but when it counted most: Kinston getting five attempts to sink a field goal that would’ve tied it and sent the game into overtime, the ladies came up large with a capital ‘L’.

&uot;We tried to give it away any way we could,&uot; said an exhausted, but relieved Bertie coach Alice Lyons afterward, &uot;but my senior stepped up at the right time, and took charge.&uot;

With the game tied at 40-all, senior Satora Swain, who’d earlier missed the front-end of a 1-plus-1 free throw attempt that would’ve given the Falcons at least a two point lead, made a twisting, awkward, off-balance jump-shot in the lane with 13 seconds left. 

Then the Falcons’ defense stepped up, causing Kinston to miss four attempts to score the rest of the way and Bertie prevailed to win, 42-40, Monday night and advance to the second round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A girls basketball playoffs.

&uot;I was scared,&uot; said Swain somewhat modestly. &uot;I had to make up for missing that free throw, and she wasn’t playing me as tight as she should so I just took advantage of it.&uot;

The win sent Bertie into the second round Wednesday night against West Brunswick, who defeated Washington, 54-53, in overtime.

Yashanti Bridgers led the Falcons in scoring with 11 points while Swain tallied nine, including the eventual game-winner.

After trailing, 2-1, to open the game, Bertie reeled off six straight points to take an 8-2 bulge. They upped that tally to 16-7 after the first quarter; and despite a lackluster second quarter led 24-16 at the break.

Tiera Brown hit a long jumper to open the third quarter and give the Falcons their largest lead of the game at 26-16 before Kinston began chipping away.

The Vikings went on a run cut it to four at 29-25 before Devona Bond hit the last of just two three-pointers for Bertie on the night and push the lead back out to seven; but it was only a five-point margin, 34-29, entering the final quarter.

Kinston went to a tight man-to-man defense with a full court press to open the final frame, and Bertie – who seemed tired, having played their third game in five days – made several key turnovers. 

Viking Sherita Gooding made a steal then went in for a lay-up to get Kinston within two at 35-33, but Swain came back with a three-point play for Bertie to up the margin again to five with three and a half minutes to play.

That’s when Vikings coach, Ira Jones, called time out and things got real interesting.

 Adrianna Hall got a lay-up under the basket to make it 38-35, but Bertie answered with a long Montreshia Perry jump shot for a 40-35 Bertie lead.

Two Falcon turnovers led to a pair of Kinston field goals and the lead was just one-point, 40-39 with under a minute to play. Hall got a rebound on a Kinston miss and swung a hooking lay-up that sat for what seemed an eternity on the rim before falling harmlessly away, denying her a three-point play but she was fouled on the play and made one free-throw to tie the game at 40 with 28 seconds left.

Lyons called time-out and on the next play, Swain came through in the clutch, but the drama was not finished.

On the in-bounds play with nine-and-a-half seconds left, Kinston lobbed a pass to a wide-open Shaquala Rhodes, but Brown got a hand in to swat away the jumper and what would’ve been Kinston’s first lead since the opening moments of the game.

Bond grabbed the rebound, was fouled, but missed the free throw with seven seconds left. Kinston rebounded, and had three straight attempts – a long-range jump shot and what looked like two easy put-backs – but neither connected and as the horn sounded, the Falcons had moved on to the next round.

&uot;You could see our legs were gone in that game,&uot; said Lyons, &uot;but this is playoff time and they’ve just got to step it up.&uot;

 

Lady Falcons (42): Yashanti Bridgers – 11, Satora Swain – 9, Devona Bond – 7, Tiera Brown – 5, Ayanna Wilson – 5, Montreshia Perry – 4, LaToya Gilliam – 1

 

Lady Vikings (40): Adrianna Hall – 11, Adrienne Lewis – 10, Sherita Gooding – 5, Kendra Bell – 5, Shaquala Rhodes – 3, Troyshika Shaw – 2, Brittany Moore – 2, Cookie Wingfield – 2