Bertie bests Weldon

Published 4:26 pm Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WINDSOR – Steady as it goes.

That nautical term could’ve applied to the Bertie High boys basketball team as they moved above .500 on the season with a 73-57 home win Tuesday night.

All but 17 of the Falcons’ points came from just two players: seniors Wykevin Bazemore and Norman Cherry, III, who scored 29 and 27 points, respectively.

Barry Smith and Justin Wilson scored eight apiece for Weldon.

The win also avenged a 39-36 loss Bertie suffered at the hands of the Chargers a season ago and leaves them a chance to sweep the series for the first time in three years when these same two are rematched on Monday night in Weldon.

“We’ve split with them the last two years,” said third-year coach Lester Lyons, “so it’s always a battle when we play those guys.

“We knew we had to protect home court,” he added, “because we know it’s going to be a battle when we go over there.”

At times the game itself resembled a battle with 25 fouls whistled on the Falcons. But the Chargers didn’t capitalize at the charity stripe, making just 15-of-34 foul shots.  Bertie, meanwhile, made 14-of-24.

“We gotta do better at the free throw line,” said Weldon coach James Lynch, shaking his head.  “That’s really where we killed ourselves tonight.”

Thanks to two jump shots in the lane by Bazemore and a three-pointer by Cherry, Bertie blazed out to a 7-0 lead before Weldon scored their first point on a free throw. It was 13-1 before the Chargers finally scored from the floor with back-to-back field goals with 1:45 left in the first quarter.

Bertie was unfazed, however, as Cherry hit two more jump shots – one a three-pointer – to make it 18-5, Falcons, after the first eight minutes of play.

The Falcons built a double-digit lead which they maintained until midway through the fourth quarter.

Bazemore scored six quick points for Bertie to open the second quarter and open a 24-7 lead. Lyons shuffled his front-court and packed his zone defense, forcing Weldon to hit their shots from the outside; but also racking up fouls on the Falcons when the Chargers penetrated inside.

Weldon handled the adjustment and the two teams played evenly up until the break leaving Weldon trailing by 14, 37-24, at halftime,

The third quarter started out like the first, with Cherry and Bazemore accounting for nine of Bertie’s first 11 points and a 48-33 lead.

But the rough inside play was attracting the attention of the referees who whistled eight fouls on both teams the final four minutes of the quarter. Bertie still lead, however, at the sound of the horn, 53-38.

Weldon opened the final frame with a 8-1 run to make it 54-46 on a Smith baseline layup.  But Cherry hit a three-pointer and a pair of free throws, and Tykevis Bazemore got a put-back to push the Bertie lead back out to double-digits.

Weldon cut the lead below 10 twice more; first to 63-55, and then the last time at 65-57.  But not only was that as close as the Chargers came, but those were their last points of the night as Bertie got a late Ramon Battle jump shot. They made their final points of the night on free throws, the final two by Bazemore.

“We didn’t take care of the ball especially well tonight,” said Lyons, “but we were able to force the same amount of turnovers they were able to force on us and we scored a few more off of ours than they did.

“There were times when we didn’t really get good looks,” he added, “but we were able to get the ball to the right people.  Bazemore took care of us in the first half and then in the second half when it got close he took care of us again.

“He’s a special kid,” concluded Lyons with a nod. “How Bertie plays this year depends on how he plays.”