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Lady Falcons roll by Hunt

WINDSOR – It seems to always go through Wilson.

A year ago Bertie High’s girls basketball team saw their season come to a disappointing end at the hands of Wilson’s E.T. Beddingfield High School.

This year for the Northeastern Coastal Conference champs it was a different Wilson team — Hunt — and a different ending: a 30-point Bertie win, 66-36, in the second round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) high school tournament and sending them into the sectional finals for the second straight year.

Thursday night the Lady Falcons outscored the Lady Warriors 10-2 in both the opening minutes of the first and the third quarters. Quite a contrast to the beginning of their first-round effort Tuesday against Greenville’s D.H. Conley.

“I told them I’m getting too old for this,” joked coach Alice Lyons after the game, “and don’t put me in that kind of bind. Just take charge in the first quarter and they responded.

Equalia Vines was the queen of the court as she scored Bertie’s first six points by totally dominating the paint. The six-foot senior collected all three field goals on putbacks as Hunt showed early they had no one up front to stop her. Vines finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds in just 15 minutes of play. “Tiny Terror” Tiera Brown netted 14 points while Ayanna Wilson had nine points and four rebounds.

Alisha Baines led Hunt with 11 points.

Vines, Wilson, and Yashanti Bridgers — who finished with six points and 10 rebounds — gave Bertie a 10-0 lead before Hunt had even scored its first basket over five minutes into the game. 12-5 was as close as Hunt came all night as from there the Lady Falcons easily cruised to a 17-5 bulge capped off by an off-balance three-pointer Wilson launched at the buzzer that swished in causing her to be mobbed at the bench by her teammates.

Brown began to heat up in the second quarter, getting a jump shot after a steal and later draining a three-pointer from the corner. Two possessions later, off a steal, Brown found Wilson on a fast-break with an on-target bounce pass for the easy layup and one could sense the Lady Warriors seemed to be wilting in the sweltering heat of the Bertie gymnasium. Hunt scored the last five points to make it a 29-15 Bertie lead at halftime.

The Lady Falcons opened the third quarter much like the first, but this time Vines had help from Brown. Both ladies opened with fast-break layups off Hunt misses. Vines then made a pair of free throws and Brown collected another layup off a Hunt turnover capping another 8-0 run. Hunt had scored just a pair of free until a 1:45 remained in the quarter before Amber Parrish gave the Lady Warriors a shot from the floor.

Ahead 49-23 entering the fourth quarter, Lyons began to clear her bench and the last eight minutes featured stoppages for everything from substitutions to held balls to plenty of free-throw shooting because of physical play.

“We never could bounce back from that (early) deficit,” said Hunt coach Quentin Rogers, shaking his head. “I thought we could beat them in transition and push the ball a little bit, but she (Lyons) did a good job with her substitutions.”

Bertie hosted South Central in the sectional final Friday night, meaning the girls had to play on back-to-back nights.

“That’s why we play a lot of tournaments,” said Lyons, “to get the girls prepared for the state playoffs.”