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Lady Bears bow out

AHOSKIE – With no time left on the clock.

Nash Central High School hit a free throw with no time remaining in the contest to upset fourth-seeded Hertford County High School 56-55 in the first round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A playoffs here Monday.

The Lady Bears had rallied from a five-point deficit to tie the game with 35 ticks left on the clock, but the free throw by Jalynn Westry sent the Lady Bulldogs to the second round.

Hertford County entered the fourth quarter trailing by a bucket, but Brandi Burden buried a free throw to close the gap to one point (43-42).

Nash Central got four straight points from Marquesha Washington to go ahead 47-41. From that point, the two teams exchanged a set of runs the last of which left the Bulldogs with a five-point edge (55-50) late in the contest.

Camaryn Jones then scored for the Bears and Sherniece Futrell buried a free throw before Burden scored with 35 seconds to play to tie the game at 55-all.

That set up the free throw that cost HCHS the chance to advance.

Charmise Speight led Nash Central to the victory with 15 points. She was one of four Lady Bulldogs in double figures as Westry added 14, Niya Styles had an even dozen and Washington scored 10 points.

The Lady Bears got 19 each from Futrell and Burden to lead their offensive attack while Jones chipped in 14 points.

Early in the contest, it was Nash Central who pulled ahead. The Lady Bulldogs scored the first 10 points of the game before the Bears got on the board with two Futrell free throws. Jones stopped the scoreless streak from the floor moments later and got HCHS within 10-4.

Timya Staton and Styles had back-to-back shots though and Nash Central was back in front by double figures.

The Bulldogs eventually led 19-8, but Burden had a hoop and two free throws to close out the first period with Hertford County trailing 19-12.

Burden then scored the first four points of the second quarter to get within 19-16 until Styles buried a triple for Nash Central.

Hertford County responded with a 6-0 run of their own as Futrell sandwiched a pair of shots around a Burden hoop to tie the game at 22-all.

The teams exchanged buckets for the rest of the first half with Nash Central eventually heading into the locker room ahead by one (30-29).

The Bears surged ahead as the third quarter opened with Burden and Jones hitting back-to-back shots to make it 33-30 in favor of the home team.

Nash Central again came back thanks to a hoop from Washington and a triple off the hands of Speight. They continued to hold the lead through the rest of the third quarter, but the Bears kept pace and were within two heading into the final quarter.

Hertford County ends the season with a 15-9 overall record.