Falcons roll in league opener
WINDSOR – A night of firsts.
Robert Jones, Bertie High School’s new interim boys basketball coach, picked up his first win at home Friday night when the Falcons won the ‘bird battle’ with the Nighthawks of First Flight, 67-34.
It was also the first league win in the Northeastern Coastal Conference this season.
“It feels great, just outstanding,” said a smiling Jones after the game as he accepted congratulations from friends, fans, and family.
“It’s a learning process,” he cautioned, “but I’m really happy with my guys’ performance tonight.”
Tyhaun Moore was the only Falcon in double-figures with 10 points as a dozen Bertie (2-2) players scored en route to the win which leaves them tied, temporarily, for first place in the conference.
First Flight (1-6) was led by Billy Foster with 12.
“The kids are multi-talented this year because they can play a lot of positions,” added Jones, “so they’re very equal which makes my job both easy and hard.”
It certainly looked easy in the early going for Bertie. After First Flight broke the scoring ice with a free-throw, Bertie scored the next six in a row forcing Nighthawks coach, Chad Williams, to call his first time-out.
That breather may have settled the Nighthawks players nerves, but it didn’t help their scoring as Bertie reeled off seven more points to lead it 13-1 and forcing Williams to burn another timeout.
During their run, six different players scored for the Falcons.
Bertie scored just four more points the rest of the quarter, all by Shaquille White. The junior post player followed up a missed shot underneath and then got a layup in the paint off the glass.
Bertie led 17-6 after the first eight minutes of play.
All Bertie did to open the second quarter was to rack up three quick fouls and get First Flight into the one-and-one bonus just 10 minutes into the game. The Falcon were just as bad themselves at the charity stripe going 1-for-4.
But the Falcons were warming up beyond the three-point arc. Dreshaun Morris – held below double-figures for the first time this year – drained a trey followed by a pair of threes that fell for Jaquil Hafiz.
The first one put Bertie up, 26-14, and forced Williams to use his final timeout of the half; while the last one staked the Falcons to a 29-16 bulge.
Deshaquan Brown drove the baseline for one final layup before the buzzer and the teams went into the locker room with Bertie leading, 31-16.
The third quarter was a defensive masterpiece for the Falcons. First Flight only scored four points for the entire eight minutes, and all of those points came on free throws.
Meanwhile, Bertie put up 25 points in the frame. Jaquay Mitchell got a layup and was fouled, but missed the free throw; and Malcolm Cherry got his first and only points of the night on a steal and layup.
That’s when First Flight got its first two points of the quarter and after that Bertie put up 13 unanswered: the first 10 of those by Moore and Deshondre Day making it 45-18, Falcons.
Bertie then closed out the quarter on an 11-2 run, capping the onslaught with a three-pointer from Dennis Williams.
First Flight opened the fourth quarter with their first field goal of the second half, but Bertie answered with a layup from Reginald Lee.
With the game not in doubt, Jones tried to spread the playing time for his players. However, it was First Flight that won the quarter, outscoring the Falcons, 14-11; getting the last seven points of the game.
“We’re still finding our identity,” said Jones, “that’s why I substituted as much as I did tonight.”
“We knew about their athleticism,” said Nighthawks coach Williams, “and we didn’t do the things offensively to counter that.
“The next time we play them we’ll be better,” he added. “Maybe not as good as they are, but better than tonight, for sure.”
Bertie is back in action with three games this week beginning at home with Pasquotank Tuesday. Wednesday they host J.H. Rose before traveling to Elizabeth City Friday to meet Northeastern.