Bertie bounces back, tops CCHS

Published 5:52 pm Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WINDSOR – How long did it take Bertie High’s boy’s basketball team to get over their one-point heartbreaking Friday night loss that cost the Falcons the Northeastern Coastal Conference regular-season championship?

Judging by the way they played at home Monday night in the NCC Tournament opener: about 15 seconds.

Everyone played and everyone scored as Bertie (17-6) routed first-round opponent Currituck, 91-37.

The win sent the Falcons into the semi-final Wednesday night at Vaughn Gym at Elizabeth City State where they played Northeastern while league champ, Hertford County, went up against Pasquotank.

Wykevin Bazemore led the Falcon assault Monday with a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds; finishing with a rim-rattling dunk just before the final buzzer sounded.  Desmond Askew was the only other Bertie player in double figures with 11 points.

“It’s going to be a tough, tough conference tournament,” said Bertie Head Coach Lester Lyons. “The final four are the top-four teams in our conference and we’re looking for that number-one seed (for the sectionals that begin next week).”

Bertie wasted little time getting out to a hot start as they opened the game on an 11-0 run.  Norman Cherry III started things off by nailing a three-point basket over a pair of defenders and after Darius Moody’s back-to-back layups made it 9-0, Knights coach Robert Griffin called timeout.

The Knights got two quick buckets to make the score 11-5 before Bertie went on another run, this time outscoring the visitors 15-1 and putting the Knights in a hole they would never dig themselves out of the rest of the evening.

The quarter ended with Bertie ahead 29-10; eight of those points coming from Bazemore, including the first of his two crowd-pleasing dunks on the night.

The second quarter was more of the same as Lyons began to substitute liberally and Currituck had no answer for Bertie’s transition game as well as the Falcons’ play in the paint.

Eight of Bertie’s final 11 points of the quarter came from Askew courtesy of a free throw, a steal and layup, a tip-in and, finally, a three-point shot.  It sent Bertie into the locker room at halftime leading 52-16.

With Lyons giving every player wearing a Bertie jersey a chance to play, the third quarter was a bit more evenly played.

Bertie only outscored the Knights 19-12  with Bazemore again doing most of the damage and helping the Falcons to a 43-point lead, 71-28, entering the final eight minutes of play.

One by one the final Bertie players made their way into the scorebook in the fourth quarter.  The Falcons bench erupting in cheers and cat-calls as Mike Dawson’s layup with less than a minute to play meant all 16 players that dressed out for Lyons that night had scored.

“We’ll be facing Northeastern for a fourth time,” said Lyons, whose team won both regular-season meetings, but fell to the Eagles in a tournament back in December.

“It gives them some motivation,” he added, “but we know what it takes to win that game and if we bring our energy and heart and execute, we can win the game.”