Falcons send Pasquotank to first loss

Published 9:35 am Thursday, December 17, 2009

WINDSOR – It took a while for this one to get rolling, but once it did – it steam-rolled.

Three-and-a-half minutes into their Tuesday night game with Pasquotank Bertie’s boys basketball team had more fouls (seven) than points (six).

But sometimes you have to shoot your way out of a jam, and that’s what the Falcons did as they cruised to a 65-46 Northeastern Coastal Conference win over the visiting Panthers. The win raised Bertie to 2-0 in the league and 6-1 overall.

Pasquotank (5-1, 0-1,NCC) suffered its first loss of the season.

Wykevin Bazemore and Keon Moore tied for scoring honors for the Falcons with 14 points apiece while Norman Cherry, III had 12 and Isaac Allen and Arthur Vines had nine each. Jaron Moore led Pasquotank with nine points while three other players had six each.

“We figured we’d try to pressure them a little bit,” said Falcons coach Lester Lyons, “beat ’em up and slow ’em down and make their big guys handle the ball.

“We also did a real good job with our match-up zone (defense),” he added, “which made them just pass the ball around and they didn’t even try to score.”

Devante Wiggins had just four points, but he drew the biggest assignment of the night in defending J. Moore in the low-post. He held the Panthers’ leading scorer to just one point in the second half, as he had a frustrating night offensively.

“I gave him a game-ball tonight,” said Lyons of Wiggins’ play. “He helped us control the middle and take them out of their game. He really did his job tonight.”

With both teams opening in a zone defense, every time the ball went inside to the low-post, it seemed as if there was a foul called. Bertie had six points erased in the first three minutes due to charging calls. Still they regrouped and held steady as K. Moore and Bazemore made 3-for-4 free throws to stake Bertie to a 3-0 lead.

Pasquotank got a field goal and Bertie added another free throw to make it 4-2 as the foul calls started to mount up. When Panthers’ center Dominique Holmes went to the bench with his second foul at the six-minute mark, Bertie’s eyes must have lit up.

Wiggins got a layup in the paint to make it 6-2. Jaron Moore came back with a jumper, but Bertie then began to pressure in their zone defense and got three quick buckets in a row. It was 12-4 with time winding down when Jaron Moore got a dunk for the Panthers to close out the quarter with Bertie up 12-6.

Moore opened the second quarter with a three-point basket and after a Bazemore free-throw Bertie capitalized on the Panthers being out of synch. They reeled off six straight to push their lead to nine before the teams began to exchange buckets.

Then Bertie’s press began to open the game up with steals and layups. The takeaways allowed the Falcons to go on a tear and upped the margin to 25-12.

Vines then hit a three-pointer and Bertie then began to open the game up. Moore brought the crowd to its feet with a thunder dunk off a steal and the Falcons did the rest at the free throw line, going 6-of-7 to stake them to a 37-18 lead at halftime as Pasquotank kept turning the ball over in their half-court sets.

Pasquotank actually outscored Bertie in the third quarter, 14-12, as the Falcons offense sputtered again. Still, because of their outstanding second quarter offensively, Bertie led, 49-32, entering the last eight minutes of play.

Sixteen fouls were whistled in the fourth quarter. The large lead helped the Falcons as Bertie went just 4-of-10 from the charity stripe. Pasquotank fared only marginally better, hitting 6-of-12 free throws. Both teams finished with 28 second-half points, but Bertie’s big stake earlier paid off and they won by 19.

“I think it was intimidation,” said Pasquotank coach Ray Burnham. “The Wiggins kid had four blocked shots,” he added. “When we would get it inside we just couldn’t capitalize. Their quickness hurt us.”

“We didn’t score a lot,” said Lyons, “but we defended well in taking away their inside game.

“I think this team will eventually gel,” he concluded, “to where they’ll recognize who to go to on Friday nights.”