“Porridge Hot”

Published 8:49 am Tuesday, February 18, 2014

AHOSKIE – These three Bears didn’t need Goldilocks, and despite the weather outside the porridge wasn’t too cold.

Hertford County rode double-digit scoring performances Friday from a trio of seniors here on Senior Night to a 72-46 win over rival, Bertie High.

Jquwan Ruffin led the barrage with a 23-point performance, while senior teammates O’Shane Ximines with a dozen and Ryan Weaver with 11 rounded out the double-figure scoring.

Chisom Watson had 15 to lead Bertie with a dozen more for the Falcons from Donte Horton.

“I was pleased with everyone’s effort, especially the seniors on Senior Night,” said veteran Bears coach Charles Simmons. “We worked well offensively and defensively and this is a good team win, especially against a big rival.”

The game looked like it might be close in the opening minutes.  It was another Hertford County senior, Tyquan Davis, which tenderized the Falcons in the early going with four of the Bears’ first nine points. However, Bertie tried to keep pace, tying the game at 4-4 and later at 6-6.  Then the Bears’ Weaver and Jarrett Sexton rode the emotion of the night and the energy of the crowd to a 14-2 run the rest of the frame and it was 21-8 when the horn sounded ending the first quarter with Hertford County holding the lead.

After Ruffin opened the second quarter with a pull-up jumper at the free throw line, Bertie reeled off six in a row to trail by nine, 23-14, with six minutes left to play. Ruffin interrupted the string with another bucket before Bertie got a second run going in the quarter and managed to pull within five at 25-20. But Ruffin then nailed a three-pointer, followed by a steal and lay-up.  The teams exchanged buckets but the Bears got the lead into double-digits again and were ahead by a dozen when the horn sounded ending the first half.  HertfordCounty went into the locker-room nursing a 35-23 lead.

Watson and Tydre Lee scored the first four points of the second half and Bertie got their deficit under ten again, but not for long as Ximines went to work inside and pushed it back to a 13-point margin 39-26. Shyki Mitchell was fouled and made two free-throws for Bertie to get it to 42-28 before the Bears turned up the defense.  They ignited a 10-0 scoring run, while completely shutting down the Falcons. Ruffin drained another rainbow jump shot just before the horn sounded and HertfordCounty entered the fourth quarter ahead, 52-28.

Since the two rivals are separated only by 24 miles and a county line, the coaches cleared both benches so the crowd could get a chance to see everyone get some playing time.  Hertford County, however, made the most of theirs as their bench outscored the Falcons in the fourth 12-7.  Hertford County built its biggest lead with four minutes remaining, 67-40.  From there, Bertie scored a couple of threes, but that was all the Bear defense would allow.  One by one the HertfordCounty seniors came out of the game to the thunderous applause of the crowd and when the horn finally sounded, HertfordCounty had their ninth win in league play (9-1).

The Bears rise to 16-4 overall while Bertie goes to 14-6, and 6-5 in conference. Bertie had their Senior Night on Monday with the twice-delayed home finale against Northeastern.  Hertford County ended its regular season at home on that same night against Currituck.