Plymouth finishes third

Published 9:26 am Wednesday, January 2, 2013

AHOSKIE – A shutout in their own tournament was not what they expected.

The Hertford County High School girls basketball team played in the Consolation Game Saturday evening at the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald Holiday Classic sponsored by United Country Joe Murray Realty.

As in their tournament opener, the Lady Bears could not overcome a sluggish start and never recovered; falling to Plymouth, 49-37.

Desire Chesson and Janezia Dixon had 13 points each for the Lady Vikings.

Brandi Burden – named to the All-Tournament team – led HCHS with 11.

Plymouth had fought their way into the consolation round after dropping their opener to finalist, Bertie High School; and then escaping on Friday night with a one-point win over Gates County.

“They (the referees) let them play tonight,” said a smiling Plymouth coach Lamont Gilliam. “In a hard-fought game like this that’s the way we like to play, up and down the court.”

And running was what the Lady Vikings did plenty of in the early going.  The game was close (5-4, Plymouth) in the first three minutes, but then Chesson began to get plenty of good looks inside while Kristy Gibson was connecting from the perimeter.

Soon Plymouth had built a four-point bulge and then made it six, 15-9, just before the horn ending the first quarter.

Burden dropped a pair of free throws to open the Lady Bear scoring in the second frame, but Cannon countered with a soft jump shot at the top of the circle.

Kyara Rodgers then got a steal and a layup, making the score 17-13, Plymouth and it looked like HCHS was poised to get back in the game.

Instead, the game became much more physical with seven fouls being whistled between the two teams in a two minute span of playing time.

Neither team, however, took advantage at the charity stripe where Plymouth was 3-for-6 and the Bears were 1-for-4.

But the Vikings were connecting from the floor, as Chesson and Gibson made a couple of jump shots.  And their defense was also shut-down, allowing the Bears just a free throw the rest of the half.

Plymouth closed with an 8-0 run and took a 30-14 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Opening the third quarter, Burden broke the ice for HCHS with the Bears’ first field goal since early in the second; it was a soft jump shot just short of the lane.

But cold shooting had as much to do with the Bears’ offensive woes as Plymouth defense.  Hertford County missed seven of its first nine shots in the half.

With the score 33-18, Plymouth went on a 12-5 run and ended the quarter with a 22-point lead, 45-23.

They upped the mark to their largest lead of the game with a pair of foul shots to open the fourth quarter; and from there Gilliam began to clear his bench.  HCHS won the quarter by 10, 14-4, to end up only losing by a dozen.

“We played in spurts,” said first-year HCHS coach Sha’Teisa Sharpe. “We can’t just play when we want to play, we have to play from start to finish.

“It’s building blocks,” she added, philosophically. “We lay one brick at a time and this was one of the harder bricks we had to lay.  But we’ll take this and push forward to have a better and more successful conference play.”

Hertford County (2-7) resumes play January 4 with an Northeastern Coastal Conference game when they host Edenton.