Bertie ladies claim third

Published 4:14 pm Thursday, December 29, 2011

AHOSKIE – Efficient.

The Bertie High School girls basketball team wasted little time Wednesday night in the consolation game of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament sponsored by United Country Joe Murray Realty – not on their possessions, or to start the game.

When it was over the Lady Falcons had snapped a four-game losing streak and claimed third place thanks to a 79-45 win over Gates County.

Zakkeya Morris led four Bertie players in double-figures with 20 points. Chaquasja Veale followed with 16 while Tyessence Martin had 13 and Denajah Brown rounded it out with 12.

Dashanna Duggins led Gates County with 19 while Jaleesa Edwards had 14.

“I think this win came from the heart,” said Bertie coach Joan McCullough afterward.  “I think they decided that they wanted to do it and it was less me wanting it for them tonight as much as them wanting it for themselves.”

Bertie wanted a fast start and they got it.

Morris hit the Lady Falcons’ first two shots and, despite a Gates free throw, Bertie led in the early going, 4-1.

But back came the Lady Barons as Duggins hit a three-point shot from the corner to tie it at 4-4. The two teams played even-up the rest of the quarter and after the first eight minutes of play it was all knotted at 10-10.

The second quarter would be different.

Bertie opened with a 10-3 run. Morris hit back-to-back free throws and then Martin scored on back-to-back layups in the low post to make it 16-10.

Gates got a free throw to break the string, but Shauquisha Leary scored down low to get the Lady Falcons back to firing again.

Duggins scored for Gates County, making it, 18-13, before Bertie went on another scoring binge that broke the game open.

After Zhiasia Bazemore scored, Morris and Veale hit back-to-back three-pointers and another steal and layup for Martin saw the Lady Falcons start to stretch it out.  Gates got a couple of buckets, but trailed, 28-15.

A mild Red Baron scoring run thanks to Kianna Harrell and Victoria Randolph got Gates’ deficit down to nine at 30-21, but that was it for their offense up until halftime as Bertie closed with a 6-0 run; four of that coming from Brown.

It was 36-21 at the break.

The teams matched buckets to open the third quarter before Bertie seized the game by the throat once more.

Ahead by 17(48-31) Bertie then brought out the pressure defense, forcing turnovers that the Lady Falcons converted into easy layups. They also were winning the battle on the boards, outrebounding Gates, 24-to-11.

That, combined with Red Baron misses pushed Bertie’s lead to 61-28 after three quarters.

The fourth quarter saw Gates’ lowest scoring output of the contest, just seven points.  Bertie, meanwhile, scored 18 to make for the final margin.

“Anytime you lose it’s not a great day,” said Gates coach Kelli Boone, “but we’re going to come back, work hard, and try to fix some of the kinks we had in the game.

“I thought our energy was good,” she added. “We just fell a little short tonight.”

“We did what I always thought we were capable of doing.” said McCullough. “But we have a young team, and they’ve learning.”