Bertie girls bounce back

Published 4:05 pm Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WINDSOR – They didn’t want another ‘killer practice’.

But that’s exactly what Bertie High School girl’s basketball coach Alice Lyons scheduled over the weekend after her team lost the Northeastern Coastal Conference tournament championship game to Northeastern’s Lady Eagles Friday night by 26 points.

They must have gotten the message.

The Lady Falcons turned in those same numbers around Monday night at home with a 26-point win in the first round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Associatin (NCHSAA) 2-A Sectionals over Croatan, 60-34.

Ayanna Wilson led Bertie with 20 points – 13 in the first half – to go with six steals and two blocked shots.  Fellow senior teammate, Montreshia Perry finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and also had a pair of blocked shots.

Ellen Gould led the Lady Cougars’ scoring with 10.

“They had fire in their eyes tonight,” said a smiling Lyons after the game, “because they did not want another practice like they had Saturday.

“I just told them that if you lose from now on, you go home,” she added.

Bertie came out relentless in the first quarter, their pressure defense forced early turnovers against the Lady Cougars and the Lady Falcons were running and gunning their way to a 17-6 lead after the first quarter.

When Bertie switched back to a zone defense in the second quarter, Croatan was able to shoot themselves back to respectability, if not necessarily back into the game. Down by 11, the Lady Cougars cut it to six and were only outscored by three points in the frame, 14-to-11.

But Bertie held a 14-point edge at halftime, 31-to-17.

Gould hit her first two field goals of the second half and getting Croatan back within nine points, 31-22, got Lyons’ attention.  She called a quick timeout her team responded with an 8-2 run that moved them further in front by 15, 39-24.

After surrendering a three-pointer, Bertie got the final seven points of the quarter to lead it, 46-27, with eight minutes left to play.

A minute and a half into the fourth Croatan lost point guard Kelsie Hernandez to an injury and the Lady Cougars never recovered from her absence.

Cranking back up their pressure defense, Bertie (21-4) went on a 9-0 run, getting four points from Tenethia Cherry and making 4-of-6 free throws. They build a lead of 29 points twice in the period before notching the 26-point win.

“I knew they were hungry,” said Croatan (13-10) coach Andy Gurley, nodding toward the Bertie locker room.

“You can’t give them anything easy,” he added, “or they’ll take it and run and get a lot of momentum on their side.”

“Of course we’re hungry,” replied Lyons with a smile. “I told them if they win six games they’ll have a state championship.”