Falcons ‘defend’ home court
WINDSOR – It may not have been pretty, but it was a win.
The Bertie High boy’s basketball team took a 47-37 Northeastern Coastal Conference win over Edenton Holmes Friday night, their first home win of the new year.
It was, however, also their lowest offensive output since a 39-36 loss at Weldon back in December.
Wykevin Bazemore led the Falcons’ attack with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Keon Moore added 13 points with eight rebounds while Norman Cherry had eight points and six assists. Dorian Holley was leading scorer for Edenton with six.
“I was telling our guys that when you’re not having a good offensive night you’ve got to play good defense and try to hold teams under 40 points,” said second-year coach Lester Lyons.
“We got off to a good start,” he added, “and then we got kind of lackadaisical and I was trying to send a message to my starting lineup by going with some of the back-ups. We’re going to be in some games this year where we need our focus and intensity the whole game and that’s what I was trying to show them tonight.”
After Edenton took a 4-3 lead in the opening minutes of the first quarter, Bertie retook the lead for good on a Bazemore follow shot in the paint. They then went on an 11-2 run to close out the quarter thanks to a baseline layup and jump shot from Cherry and six more from Bazemore.
The Falcons opened the second quarter with another run, this time outscoring the Chowan County visitors, 8-2.
The run was marked by a Cherry three-pointer and a steal by Bazemore that Moore converted into the first slam dunk of the night that brought the crowd to its feet and the score up to 24-8 before Aces coach Andy Downing called a quick timeout.
The pep-talk seemed to fire-up the Aces and Edenton ran off five quick points to get within 11 at 24-13 before Lyons called his first timeout.
Out of that short break, Moore collected a baseline layup and Bazemore got a put-back off the glass to help send Bertie into the locker room ahead 28-15 at the halfway mark.
Moore sank two early free throws to open the second half and Jaquan Jordan produced a jumper in the paint to stake Bertie to a 32-15 lead, the Falcons’ largest of the night. But for the rest of the third quarter, Bertie managed only three free throws and a jumper from Ryan Daye.
Edenton, meanwhile, had their best offensive showing of the night, outscoring the Falcons’ reserves 14-9 for the quarter as the Aces’ scoring was spread among Holley, Deshaun and Tayquan Fleming and Dezure Nixon. It brought Edenton within eight, 37-29, with eight minutes left to play.
Scores by Charles Stanley and Nixon got Edenton within four, 37-33, in the opening minute of the fourth, the closest the Aces had been since the first quarter; but Moore quieted the by now raucous Aces crowd with a three-pointer for a 40-33 Bertie lead.
Edenton could’ve come closer as Bertie missed four straight foul shots, but inopportune turnovers and balls that either bounced off the rim or never seemed to fall into the net kept the Aces at bay.
With time winding down Bazemore got a layup off the glass to make it 43-37 and the Falcons closed it out in the final minute with four free throws from Moore to claim the 10-point win, their tenth of the season and fourth in league play.
“We had some real good looks that just didn’t fall,” said Aces coach Andy Downing, shaking his head after the game, “but we hustled and scrapped on defense.”
Edenton (6-7, 2-2, NCC) went 1-for-16 in three-point attempts.
“After we got it close we just couldn’t get it over that hump and get it inside,” he concluded, “but those things just kind of happen.”
“When you don’t show up on offense,” said a smiling Lyons, “you have to call on your defense to get you out of a jam.”
Bertie is off until they go looking for revenge in Ahoskie against Hertford County on Friday night. The Bears downed the Falcons, 72-69, in the championship game of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald Holiday Classic sponsored by United Country Joe Murray Realty just two weeks ago.