Falcons’ fast start continues

Published 9:01 am Thursday, December 12, 2013

WINDSOR – Still perfect.

Donte Horton’s put-back with less than a full second left on the clock proved to be the difference as the Bertie High School boy’s basketball team remained unbeaten on the young season.  Despite letting a 15-point lead slip away the Falcons pulled out a 47-46 win over Weldon in non-conference action here Tuesday night.

The Falcons raised their record to 5-0 on the young season with the win in what was their final home tune-up before conference play begins Friday night.

Malik Williams led the Falcons with a 15-point effort coupled with eleven rebounds for a double-double on the night. Shyki Mitchell also hit the double-digit mark in scoring with a dozen.

Dunstun Mo’Quan led the Chargers with 14 while Marquie Clemonts added 12 more.

The Falcons were comfortably ahead, 42-29, with less than five minutes left in the game before Weldon went on a blitz with a 15-0 run to seize a 44-42 lead with two and a half left on the clock.

Trailing by three with 41 seconds left, Marquis Holley hit a floater of a jump shot to get the home team within a point, 46-45.  After a Weldon miss, Bertie turned the ball over when they stepped on the end line, forcing the Falcons to foul. Despite being in the double-bonus, Weldon then missed both foul shots, opening the door once again for Bertie.  With twelve seconds left, the Falcons let fly a shot that glanced the rim, but Horton went high for the offensive rebound and banked in the winner with six-tenths of a second remaining sending the Bertie crowd into frenzy.

It was his only field goal of the game.

“We just got careless with the basketball there trying to be in a hurry and we practically put them back in the game with turnovers,” said second-year Bertie coach Kelvin Hayes. “We have to learn that when we have a lead protecting the ball is sacred.”

Both teams got off to a sluggish start to the contest, with Bertie ahead by just two after the first quarter, 8-6.

A 10-2 run in the opening minute-and-a-half of the second quarter put the Falcons up by ten, 18-8, before Weldon coach Don Handsome called time out to re-group. A 6-2 spurt had the Chargers within striking distance, 20-14, before Bertie scored seven of the next nine points to send the teams into the locker-room with the Falcons ahead by eleven, 27-16.

Bertie built their biggest lead of the game, 36-21, in the opening five minutes of the third as Williams ruled the offensive and defensive glass, scoring nine points in the quarter, which ended with Bertie still on top by eleven, 40-29.

It was Bertie by 13 to start the fourth before Weldon then extended its zone and switched between that and man-to-man to get Bertie off rhythm.  The strategy worked as the Chargers turned up the defense and got lay-ups off turnovers which helped ignite their 15-0 run accounting for their taking their first lead since the first quarter.

“We’ve got one more game (SW Edgecombe) prior to Friday, but we obviously can’t play ball like this going into conference,” said Hayes.

Bertie played Wednesday night in Pinetops in a game that was not completed by press time. They welcome Pasquotank to Windsor Friday with junior varsity tip-off scheduled for 4 p.m. and varsity will follow.