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Lady Falcons play ‘Bertie ball’

WINDSOR – Playing up and stepping up.

After admonishing her team for not playing up to the level of what she calls ‘Bertie basketball’, coach Alice Lyons gave a spirited pep talk to her team last week and it produced a pair of wins, particularly the Lady Falcons’ conference-opening win over First Flight Friday night on their home floor, 63-26.

The win also marked the fifth time Bertie had scored 60 points or more in a basketball game and fourth time the Lady Falcons had won by 20 or more.

Ayanna Wilson’s 19 points led three Bertie players in double-figures followed by 12 from Montreshia Perry and 11 from Yashanti Bridgers. Bryce Saunders led the Lady Nighthawks with six.

“They were playing a little sluggish at first, said a stern Lyons after the win. “They always want to play to the level of the people they’re playing, and I’m not going to put up with that.

“They’ve got to stick with Bertie ball.”, she added with emphasis.

If the first quarter of the Lady Falcons’ play Friday night is an indication of ‘Bertie ball’, then their opponents should be wary. Bertie opened the game on a 10-0 run in the first four minutes and led 13-4 after the first quarter.

They bulged that lead to open the second quarter as Bridgers hit a lay-up and a free-throw and Perry and Wilson had back-to-back lay-ups before First Flight’s Tiffany White got a steal and a lay-up to cut the score to 20-6.

After Bridgers got another lay-up in the lane, Eboni Bond took her defender one-on-one on the baseline for a twisting lay-up off the glass for Bertie’s final field-goal of the half. The Lady Falcons closed out the scoring by making two of three free throws in the final two minutes and took a 27-12 lead into the locker room.

Bertie outscored the visitors, 16-4 in the third quarter thanks to strong offensive rebounding.

After surrendering two quick buckets to the Lady Nighthawks, it was 31-16 in the third as Bridgers got an offensive rebound for a put-back followed by Wilson hitting a reverse lay-up and then fighting her way through for an offensive board and another lay-up off the glass.

With Nighthawks coach Steven Saunders forced to play small due to foul trouble, Bridgers had her way with her inside game and then closed out the quarter with a pair of long jump shots from the outside to make it 43-20 after three.

The fourth quarter was pretty much a mirror of the third with the exception that because of such a large lead, Lyons cleared her bench and the reserves responded with a 15-point effort. Ahead, 47-22, she allowed some of the younger players to get some much needed playing time against a league opponent.

First Flight managed just a pair of field goals and a free throw in the final frame as the Lady Falcons upped their record to 5-1 and 1-0 in the Northeastern Coastal Conference. First Flight fell to 0-1 in league play and 2-2 overall.

“I think they got the message that I’ll put somebody else in their spot if they don’t step it up,” said Lyons, with a wry smile to somewhat temper her threat. “I had to tell them what they were doing wrong and to quit standing around and watching and get into the game.”

Bertie hosts Pasquotank tonight (Tuesday). The Panthers come to Windsor with a mark of 1-4 having dropped games twice to Perquimans and Camden and riding a three-game losing slide. Friday they travel to Northeastern before beginning a holiday tournament on December 21.