Bertie wins on buzzer-beating shot

Published 11:16 am Tuesday, February 26, 2013

ELIZABETHCITY – In the near future Elizabeth City State University football signee Malcolm Cherry will try to make a name for himself at ECSU’s Roebuck Stadium in football.

He may’ve already made one for himself in basketball at the R.L.VaughnCenter even before he enrolls in school.

Cherry hit the game-winning shot there on Friday night just as the buzzer sounded, propelling Bertie to the Northeastern Coastal Conference basketball tournament championship 50-49 over Northeastern High. It was the Falcons first tournament title since 2010.

Bertie entered the state 2A playoffs as the fourth seed out of the east against Wilson Beddingfield. That game, played at Bertie last night was not completed by press time.

As for Friday night’s heroics the Falcons made it two in a row over the Eagles in three games so far this season and pending Monday night’s outcome they could be facing Northeastern for a fourth time on Wednesday night.

Shaquille White led Bertie in scoring with 12 points and teammate Deshondre Day chipped in with 11 more.  Cherry finished with five rebounds, six assists, four steals, and just two points, but they were the biggest two of the night.

Both teams had runs in the first quarter with Bertie leading for most of the frame before Northeastern ‘s Trey Carver – who led all scorers with 17 points – hit back to back buckets to draw the Eagles within one at 15-14 following the first eight minutes of play.

The Falcons kept up the pace in the second quarter, but as Northeastern attacked the middle Bertie post player Malik Williams picked up his third foul and had to sit out the quarter’s final three minutes. The Eagles took advantage and outscored Bertie 8-to-3 during that span and trailed by five at the break, 32-27.

The third quarter was also Bertie’s as the Falcons got up by as many as six before the game turned into a three-point shootout. The Eagles made three of six in their attempts while the Falcons had two of seven.  Bertie still led by five going into the fourth quarter, 43-38, but the baskets made from behind the arc were allowing the Eagles to catch-up.

Every time Bertie tried to stretch its lead in the fourth the Eagles answered with a three-pointer. Bertie was up 48-43 with three-and-a-half minutes to play before Northeastern scored six in a row to take the lead, 49-48, at the 2:48 mark.

Both teams went into a stall for the next two-and-a-half minutes, neither able to score. With 12 seconds left Northeastern was fouled, but missed both free throws. On their next possession, Bertie got a charging call with six seconds left, but no sooner did Northeastern have the ball than they turned it right back over to Bertie with three seconds left. Falcons coach Kelvin Hayes then called time out to set up the play and on the throw-in, Cherry almost made like Duke’s Christian Laettner against Kentucky with a catch and shoot. The shot sailed out of his hands and sent the crowd into a frenzy just as it swished in.