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Lady Falcons pick up league win 54-35

WINDSOR – Call this one the ‘hat trick’.

For the third time this season the Bertie girl’s basketball team defeated First Flight. Friday’s home final of 53-35 completed the trifecta for the Lady Falcons who took the Lady Nighthawks in two previous meetings: at Kill Devil Hills and in the Daily-Advance Holiday Classic in Elizabeth City, both in December.

“Tiny Terror” Tiera Brown led the Lady Falcons with 13 points while Ya’Shonti Bridgers finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots. Equalia Vines also had 10 points and contributed six blocked shots.

Rebecca Charalambous led all scorers with 14 for First Flight.

The game did feature sloppy play from both teams at times, but the Falcons used their speed, physical play inside and smothering defense on the Nighthawks to produce their tenth win in a row and upped Bertie’s overall record to 15-1.

“A ‘W’s’ a ‘W’, and I’ll take it any way I can get it,” said Falcons coach Alice Lyons after the contest. “Because of the weather we were a little sluggish since we weren’t able to practice but one time this week and you could tell the girls hadn’t touched the ball in a couple of days.”

Bertie wasted little time in sprinting out to an early lead, 15-7, after the first quarter of play. Their pressure defense forced five turnovers which the Lady Falcons converted to nine points, mostly on fast-breaks.

First Flight was able to regroup in the second quarter, pulling within two points, 17-15, with under three minutes to play as Lyons began to substitute for her starters.

The Falcons reserves seemed a little tentative against their opponent and First Flight was able to briefly seize some momentum. However, poor shooting by First Flight — including missing five field goal attempts in a row — allowed Bertie to maintain a comfortable margin and the Falcons took a nine-point lead into the locker room at the break, 28-19.

Bertie was never challenged in the second half, opening the third quarter with an 8-0 run highlighted by a block by Bridgers that Ayanna Wilson rebounded and then fired a pass the length of the court for a Brown layup and a 35-22 Bertie lead.

Charalambous converted a three-point play on First Flight’s next possession, but Bertie coasted into the fourth quarter ahead 41-27.

By the final frame of the evening the heat in the gymnasium began to take its toll on the players (as well as the fans) and First Flight could manage just eight points as Bertie reverted to their spread offense and coasted to the 18-point win.

“It was a little hot tonight and they got tired quick,” said Lyons. “Basically all the girls were a little winded because we usually run the floor better than that.”

“They’re a tough team, period,” said First Flight coach Mandy McBride. “We know when we come in here they’re going to hit us and bang us and we have to be prepared for it, and they hit us pretty hard tonight.”