Bears fall to Aces

Published 11:51 am Friday, February 17, 2012

ELIZABETH CITY – It was a tough way to suffer their first league loss.

Hertford County entered the semifinals of the Northeastern Coastal Conference having swept the regular season in the league. They were 12-0 and champions of the conference.

Wednesday, the Bears squared off with Edenton High School in the semifinals of the league tournament played here and suffered their first loss, a 55-53 setback to fourth-seeded Edenton.

Jquwan Ruffin poured in 25 points for the Bears, but no other Hertford County player scored in double figures during the loss.

Edenton, meanwhile, put three in double digits paced by Jamez Moore’s 16 points. Daequan Horton added an even dozen and Junior Barrow had 10.

Brian Beale had the first hoop of the game for the Bears, but Edenton responded with six straight thanks to Barrow sandwiching scores around an Arthur Heckstall bucket.

Ruffin then hit back-to-back triples to push the Bears ahead 8-6.

Deshon Fleming wouldn’t be outdone, however, as he hit a field goal and a three-pointer consecutively for the Aces and pushed Edenton ahead 11-8.

Wayne Simmons scored before the first quarter closed to get the Bears within 11-10.

The second period saw Edenton again roll off six straight. This time it was a trio of Aces – Moore, Barrow and Horton – who got on the board to give their team a 17-10 lead.

Beale scored to stop the spurt and then, after a Moore free throw, Willie Bass scored to get the Bears back within 18-14.

The Bears chipped the lead down to a pair (20-18), but Edenton scored seven of the final 10 points of the quarter and led 27-21 heading into the locker room.

The Bears responded strongly in the third quarter when Ruffin hit a triple followed by a Beale score and then Ruffin scored again to give HCHS a 28-27 lead.

From that point, the game was tied at 28, 34 and 36 before the Bears hit the last five in the quarter to lead 41-38 heading into the final period.

The fourth quarter started with Moore and Heckstall hitting shots for Edenton. Shabazz Atkins and Ruffin did the same for the Bears and HCHS eventually led 45-43.

The teams went back-and-forth with Hertford County eventually tying the game at 50-all on a Ruffin three-pointer.

Bass made 1-of-2 at the line to give the Bears the lead, but Moore scored from the floor to put the Aces back in front.

Horton then hit a pair from the free throw line with 44 seconds to play to give Edenton a 54-51 lead.

Ruffin hit two from the charity stripe on the other end, but the Bears couldn’t hit the final shot and Horton sealed the win at the free throw line for the Bears.

Hertford County (19-4) will now prepare for next week’s North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A playoffs.