Lady Falcons stop old rival

Published 12:10 pm Saturday, February 27, 2010

WINDSOR – It was everything the fans had hoped for.

Bertie and SouthWest Edgecombe , former rivals in the old Big-Eight 3A Conference, met Wednesday night at Bertie in the second round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2-A sectional tournament with the Lady Falcons prevailing, 60-56.

Monica Outlaw led a trio of Bertie players in double-figures with 13 points. Ayanna Wilson had 11 and 10 rebounds while LaToya Gilliam also posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.

Ny”neka Euwell paced four SouthWest in double figures with 12 while Jessica Barnes, Kayla Hinton and Quanedra Braswell had 10 each. Braswell went down with a neck injury in the third quarter and was checked at Bertie Memorial Hospital as a precaution.

The first half went from close to tight and back again and a physical second half where Bertie asserted itself on the backboards and their size in the low post paid off.

“I told Ya’Shanti she needed to assert herself (in rebounding),” said Lady Falcons coach Alice Lyons, “because LaToya and Ayanna were really working hard out there and they needed her help. She responded well.”

Tied 29-29, Bertie went on a 15-to-8 run in the third quarter to seize control. It was also during this run that two key players for the Lady Cougars went down in the game and didn’t return.

SouthWest’s Dee Dee Williams caught an elbow to the face and took a seat for the rest of the game, and three minutes later was when Braswell went out.

“I heard they were a physical team,” said SouthWest coach Sandra Langley, shaking her head, “and they are.

“When we lost those two players that took a lot out of us,” she added, “but the kids didn’t quit and didn’t give up and I’m proud of ’em.”

Outlaw got five of Bertie’s first seven with a three-pointer and a put-back. Thanks to four more points in the paint and going 6-for-6 at the free throw line the Lady Falcons led after the first stanza, 18-14.

SouthWest opened the second half with a 7-1 run to take their first lead, 21-19. Bertie tied it on a Gilliam jump shot, but SouthWest closed with an 8-5 run and led by three at the break, 29-26.

Bertie turned up the pressure defense opening the third quarter and thanks to a pair of steals and layups by Eboni Bond, and a Wilson free throw, reseized the lead, 31-29.

Montreshia Perry got four of Bertie’s next six for a 37-31 bulge before the Lady Cougars’ Williams went down; crumpling to the floor after being boxed out on a rebound. Southwest then fought back within five before Lyons called timeout.

Bridgers got a put-back to push the lead back to seven and on the next play Braswell went down. While it stopped the game for 15 minutes, it didn’t stop Bertie’s momentum when it resumed and the Lady Falcons went on to a 47-39 lead after three quarters.

Bertie slowed the game down in the fourth and went on to build a lead of 13 (60-47) when Lyons cleared her bench with a less than a minute to go. That allowed the Lady Cougars to chip it down to the final four point margin, but by that time word had reached the gym about the boys’ 68-65 road win over West Bladen.

“We made it interesting at the end,” chuckled Langley, ” but overall Bertie lived up to their reputation.”

“Going inside opened up the game for us,” said Lyons, “and it got them in foul trouble. They had really quick guards.

“I want to go to Greenville (for the Regionals),” she added with a big smile. “I can taste it already.”