Lady Falcons advance
WINDSOR – Two scoops.
That’s the ‘sweet treat’ basketball fans of Bertie High School got Monday night as the girls and boys teams hosted first round sectional games in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association playoffs.
The girls did their part: dispatching Eastern Plains Conference foe, Greene Central 54-31 and the boys followed with their win over Northside.
Monica Outlaw had 16 points to lead Bertie. Ayanna Wilson contributed nine, with eight from LaToya Gilliam. Ya’Shanti Bridgers had six points and 11 rebounds while Eboni Bond had five assists.
Shonice Petttaway had 20 points for Greene Central to lead all scorers. She also had nine rebounds.
Leading by just two points (21-19) after shooting 33 percent early in the third quarter, Bertie coach Alice Lyons called a timeout. Whatever she said worked, because Greene Central only scored 12 more points for the rest of the game while Bertie put up 33.
“I called that timeout to tell (my team) to leave those jump shots alone and start doing what we do best,” said Lyons after the game. “So we got them in foul trouble and went to the free throw line.
“I said two words in the huddle,” she said with a wink, “and I won’t tell you what those two words were,”
The Lady Falcons started penetrating the Lady Rams zone and getting layups or drawing fouls for trips to the line to shoot foul shots.
After Bertie took a 6-2 first quarter lead, Greene Central came back to tie it at 6-6 with four minutes to play. But less than a minute later, the Lady Rams’ Brittany Jones picked up her third foul and had to sit out the rest of the first half.
Bertie got a put-back from Bridgers and a turnaround jumper from Gilliam to lead it 10-6 after the first eight minutes.
Bertie opened the second quarter with an Outlaw three-point shot and two more field goals to stretch their lead to 17-6. Greene Central later made 3-of-4 free throws to climb back and make their deficit, 19-11.
After a Wilson layup made it, 21-11, Bridgers picked up a second foul and took a seat on the bench. Greene Central then reeled off six in a row highlighted by a Pettaway jump shot from just inside the arc right before the half and Bertie led, 21-17, at the break.
Jones returned to open the third quarter and hit a shot to make it 21-19 right before Lyons’ famous timeout. Her speech inspired her team because the Lady Rams were limited to just one field goal and one free throw the rest of the period.
It also awoke Outlaw, who scored five straight on a three-pointer and another short jump shot. Dylezzia Warrren came in off the bench to get a long jump shot and suddenly the shots that weren’t falling for Bertie in the first half began to go in.
Wilson ended the quarter with a trey while Greene Central collected just five points total and Bertie was ahead 38-22.
Lyons mixed her defense and the Lady Falcons did a good job of denying Pettaway the ball early in the last frame. Meanwhile, Bertie were getting balanced scoring from the floor and made 4-of-6 from the free throw line.
It also helped that only five fouls each were whistled in the fourth quarter as the officials let the girls play. Bertie won the quarter, 16-9, and the game by 23.
“We never could stop their momentum,” said Greene Central coach Tonya Whitfield. “I think we held our heads down a little bit, because Bertie was real aggressive on the boards, and their attacking the glass was really the difference in the game.”
“I like the kind of officiating that lets the girls determine the outcome,” said Lyons. “Now we’ve just got to win Wednesday and Friday,” she added, “when you come to Bertie, you better come ready to play.”