Bertie handles West Brunswick

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 29, 2008

WINDSIOR – With their coach 3,000 miles away, the Bertie High girls basketball team &uot;air-mailed&uot; her the perfect present.

Lady Falcons mentor, Alice Lyons, was away from the bench Wednesday night attending a family affair in Texas, but she kept up with her team’s progress in their second-round North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A girl’s playoff game via a cell-phone hook-up with an assistant coach.

Call it bonus minutes well spent.

Boy’s basketball coach, Calvin Moore had as easy time filling in as Bertie easily dispatched visiting West Brunswick, 57-44.  The Trojans had earned a second game thanks to a 54-52 overtime win of their own over Washington on Monday night.’

The Falcons win then set up a showdown with one of the top 3A teams in the east: once-beaten Wilson Beddingfield, on Friday night.

&uot;We had a really good practice yesterday (Tuesday),&uot; said assistant coach Andre Cherry after the game, &uot;probably the best practice we’ve had all year.&uot;

Four Falcons scored in double-figures with Tiera Brown, Devona Bond, and Yashanti Bridgers scoring a dozen points each and lone senior, Satora Swain, adding 11. 

The hard work paid off as Bertie blazed out of the gate for the second game in a row and never trailed throughout the contest.

A boxing defense forced West to shoot from the perimeter where the Lady Trojans had no early success; and with Falcon center Yashanti Bridgers controlling the boards, Bertie was able to score easy fast break lay-ups and establish their up-tempo game.

They raced out to a 10-2 lead and closed the first quarter with a 7-3 run to stand at 17-5 after just the first period of play.

In the second quarter, Bertie turned up the pressure in a tight man-to-man defense and it produced another 10-2 start.  West did not score a field goal until three-and-a-half minutes into the frame, and could not figure out the defenses as Bertie kept their opponent on it’s toes changing defenses – and defenders – all night.  With his starters resting on the bench the Trojans had a four-point run late in the quarter, but still went into the locker-room trailing at halftime, 30-16.

&uot;I did a pretty good job of scouting them and knew they only had one player to bring the ball up,&uot; said Cherry, &uot;so the defenses forced her to turn the ball over a lot.&uot;

The third quarter began like the previous two: with another 10-2 Bertie blitz.  Bond accounted for six of those with a lay-up and two long-range jump shots sandwiched between an Ayanna Wilson fast-break lay-up off a Bertie steal.

Bertie finished the run with a dazzling snowbird lay-up from Tiera Brown off a West miss and the Falcons built their largest lead of the game at 42-18.  West whittled the deficit down to 14 as the horn sounded to end the quarter on a three-pointer from Sheena Suttlemyre, who lead all scorers with 18; but West still entered the fourth quarter trailing, 44-27.

The fourth quarter featured Brown — as Ms. Outside, and Bridgers — as Ms. Inside — doing the damage for Bertie.  The pair scored all but two of Bertie’s points in the quarter.  Bridgers with nice low-post moves against her defenders, or off of offensive rebounds.   Brown, meanwhile, thrilled the crowd with her crisp ball-handling and easy jump shots.  Content to let the clock wind down, the Falcons advanced with the thirteen-point win.

&uot;With four of their (seven) losses coming to one team I knew they were strong,&uot; said Trojans coach, Cherry Woodbury. &uot;And they played so well together.&uot;

&uot;Our team is starting to jell,&uot; added Cherry. &uot;This could be something real special.&uot;

Lady Falcons (57): Devona Bond – 12, Yashanti Bridgers – 12, Tiera Brown – 12, Satora Swain – 11, Ayanna Wilson – 6, Montreshia Perry – 4

Lady Trojans (44): Sheena Suttlemyre – 18, Miranda Jenrette – 8, Mariah Evans – 8, Kristin White – 4, Kayla Padgett – 3, Jordan Winters – 2, Jordan Clear – 1