Lady Falcons upset HCHS

Published 1:31 pm Monday, February 13, 2012

WINDSOR – The spoiler.

With a share of first place in the Northeastern Coastal Conference and the top seed in this week’s league tournament on the line, Bertie knocked Hertford County off the top perch Friday night in Windsor with a dramatic 50-41 win.

The Lady Bears entered the contest needing a win over their rivals to claim a tie for the conference crown, but the Lady Falcons had other ideas; among them: securing a fourth-place finish.

Zekkeya Morris led Bertie – and all scorers – with 16 points, five rebounds and three assists. Teammate Chaquasja Veale poured in 14 while Tyessence Martin had nine points, plus six rebounds.

Brandi Burden paced Hertford County with 14 points. Two other Lady Bears hit double figures: Camaryn Jones with 11 and Sherneice Futrell with 10.

“I think the biggest thing is that we remained focused defensively,” said Bertie coach Joan McCullough.  “We knew Hertford County was going to make a run and we just needed to not get frazzled when they did.”

Hertford County fought back from a horrendous shooting first half, making just 5-of-18 field goal attempts. The Lady Bears retook the lead thanks to an 11-point third quarter from Burden where she literally took over the game.

But Bertie overcame that and an early fourth quarter stumble to gather it back in and hold off a final comeback.

“We just didn’t get it done,” said disappointed Hertford County coach, Justin Frederers. “Too many turnovers and too many missed layups.”

The ‘Senior Night’ game opened with perhaps both teams feeling a bit of the jitters in front of an overflow crowd at Bertie’s Gym. Neither team was able to mount a run and the lead changed hands twice.

Denajah Brown opened the Lady Falcon scoring with a put-back and Veale added a layup for a 3-0 lead.  Burden capped Hertford County’s first lead-change with a 4-0 run that gave the Lady Bears a 4-3 lead.

When Veale hit a three-point shot from the corner, it swung back Bertie’s way, 6-5; with the home team leading by a point after the first eight minutes, 8-7.

Bertie opened the second quarter with an 11-3 run thanks to six points coming in the low-post play of Shaquaisha Leary

Leary got a putback, a layup in the lane, and a jumper over a Hertford County defender that rolled around the rim before dropping in. That last shot giving Bertie a nine-point lead, 19-10.

Hertford County found its range again for a Futrell jump shot and ended the half making 2-of-4 free throws to only trail by seven, 21-14.

A Leary layup to open the third quarter allowed Bertie to match its biggest lead at 23-14; but that was the end of the Lady Falcons’ dominance.  Hertford County turned up their defensive pressure with positive results.

With Burden out front Hertford County collected Bertie turnovers and turned them into easy layups.  Burden got two of three chippies before McCullough called time-out to regroup her team.

It hardly mattered as Burden became a one-woman show: layups off turnovers and fade away jump shots suddenly had Hertford County within one, 27-26. The visitors then took their first lead since the game’s opening moments when Desiree James got a layup off a turnover.

But Bertie fought back and with under three minutes left in the quarter tied it on a Martin lay-up at 29-29.

Two more Lady Bear buckets gave Hertford County a four-point lead – their largest of the game – but Morris’ jump shot just before the buzzer made it 33-31 with one quarter left to play.

Hertford County matched their four-point lead in the quarter’s opening moments before a Morris steal and layup and two Veale free throws produced the game’s second and last tie, 35-35.

Jones’ put-back layup gave Hertford County it’s last lead, 37-35, before Bertie began to command the game. A Veale three-point shot gave Bertie the lead for good and Martin’s steal and layup off a Lady Bear turnover forced Frederes to call timeout.

Futrell got a turnaround jumper in the paint right out of that break, making it 40-39, Bertie; but that would be Hertford County’s last field goal.

Morris took over the game, scoring five straight points for a 45-39 Bertie lead. She then added an assist to Brown off a Hertford County turnover for layup and an eight-point lead.

Hertford County began to foul and were helped by Bertie making just 3-of-10 from the charity stripe, but the Lady Bears couldn’t make up any ground and it ended up a nine-point Bertie win.

“We didn’t panic there in the third quarter,” said McCullough.  “We didn’t take crazy shots; we just let the game come back to us.”

“Our effort was there,” shrugged Frederers, “the girls played hard, it just wasn’t our night.”

Hertford County got the second seed for Monday’s start of the conference tournament and played First Flight.

Bertie, seeded fourth, faced fifth-seed Edenton Holmes.