Lady Falcons bounce back

Published 1:05 pm Wednesday, December 26, 2012

WINDSOR – Back on track.

Bertie High School girl’s basketball coach Alice Lyons didn’t let a one-game loss – the Lady Falcons’ first of the season – derail her team in the early going of Northeastern Coastal Conference action.

After dropping their league opener in a road squeaker to Pasquotank, 52-47, on December 18 in Elizabeth City, Bertie bounced back to even their record in conference to 1-1.

The Lady Falcons took a 10-point, 54-44, win over Northeastern Friday night on their home floor.

The lightning-quick guard tandem of Chaquasja Veale and La’Shai Richardson led the way, scoring 17 and 13 points, respectively.  Richardson also had four assists and a pair of steals.

De’najah Brown was leading rebounder, collecting 19 caroms while Shauquisha Leary had eight.

Aleah McNeal was the only Northeastern player in double-figures with 11 points, while Kiana Rivers had 14 rebounds.

Thanks to their full court pressure defense, Bertie capitalized on Northeastern turnovers converted into easy layups and raced out to a 17-8 first quarter lead and had nearly doubled the Lady Eagles, 31-16, by halftime.

They then survived a physical second-half to pull out their seventh win of the season.

“Yes, it was physical,” said Lyons. “I thought they would get it under control, but they didn’t; so I told my girls to not cry and just play ball.”

Lyons also credited a series of grueling practices with keeping the Falcon women in game-shape.

“They can’t stand those hard practices,” she said with a smile.

The up-and-down the floor style fit Bertie well. The quick hands and fleet feet of Veale and Richardson was pesky all night, resulting in 16 Northeastern turnovers.

Trailing by 15 at halftime, Northeastern opened the third quarter on a 7-2 run and got the lead under a dozen at 34-23; but a three-pointer from Veale quieted the raucous crowd from Elizabeth City.

Northeastern strung together another run, only interrupted by a Leary jump shot; so the lead stayed at 11, 39-28.

Both teams closed out the quarter with sloppy play before Zelvonia Swain rained in a three-point bucket for a 42-38 Bertie lead entering the game’s final eight minutes.

Nine of Bertie’s final 12 points of the fourth quarter came from the free throw line, with only a Richardson rainbow three-pointer being the Falcon’s only field-goal.

With the officials really giving their whistles a workout in the quarter, Bertie’s last minutes became a parade to the free throw line.

Bertie was only average, however, at the charity stripe, making just 3-of-6; but it was enough of a margin to keep the Lady Falcons in front by a dozen.

Northeastern got the deficit down to 10 points twice – once at, 50-40, and again at the end. Bertie closed out the final minute of the game with a better effort at the line, going 4-for-6.

“We just don’t play well here,” said veteran Northeastern coach Pat Thornton, shaking her head.  “Four-for-sixteen from the line and I’ll bet we don’t shoot 20 percent for the whole game.”

Next up for Bertie is the post-Christmas Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and United Country Joe Murray Realty sponsored-tournament beginning December 26 at Hertford County High School.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Lyons with a sly grin, and perhaps a warning to her opponents in the event. “I need another silver bowl for my trophy case.”