Raiders outrun Falcons

Published 8:29 am Thursday, March 5, 2015

WINDSOR – They were known for making things happen in a hurry, and they did.

High Point T. W Andrews – the number five seed in the 2A NC High School Athletic Association playoffs – used their pressure defense and lightning speed in the second quarter to open a lead on four-seed, Bertie.  That lead led to a 64-48 win and sends the defending state 2A champs back to a showdown with Kinston in Fayetteville today (Thursday) in defense of their state championship.

Blazing point guard Jazlin Taylor led all scorers with 27 points for Andrews, with teammate Destiny Timberlake contributing 17.

Bertie got 22 points and 16 rebounds from De’najah Porter in her final game on Bertie’s home floor.  Fellow senior Jomiya Earley finished with 10 points while Carlisa Spivey added nine.

“I’m so proud of my girls,” said an emotional Bertie coach Alice Lyons. “They could have folded in the first quarter, but instead they fought back.”

Indeed in the first quarter with both teams showing signs of playing in their third game in four days things got off to a slow start.  Two by Taylor, and one bucket from Timberlake and teammate Jordan Quick got Andrews on the board while Porter got Bertie’s first basket on a lay-up inside for an 8-2 score.

After Spivey got a put back Lyons called time-out, as the Falcons were missing even chippy lay-ups under the basket.   Out of the break, Spivey buried a three-point shot, then Earley penetrated the Andrews defense for a lay-up and Bertie had its first lead, 9-8.   Porter added a free throw before Jaylah McKoy got a put back and the first quarter ended in a 10-10 tie.

But then came another Andrews specialty: quick scoring to open the second quarter.

With pressure on Bertie and the Falcons turning the ball over, sharp guard play by Taylor, McKoy, and Destiny Timberlake led to ten unanswered points in the first two minutes before Lyons was calling her third timeout of the game.  The Falcons still couldn’t get on track as Andrews added two more field goals for a 14-0 run and a 24-10 lead.

Earley returned to the game and gave Bertie some spark with a pair of free throws and a three-pointer.  Porter added a lay-up that got the deficit down to seven, 24-17.  But Andrews killed that momentum by draining another three-pointer to send the lead back up to ten.   Then in the span of 26 seconds, Taylor got three straight lay-ups off Bertie turnovers and with the margin upped to 33-17, Lyons called her final timeout of the half.   Porter got a lay-up out of the timeout to leave the Falcons in a 33-19 hole at halftime.

After the officials let the two squads play in the first half – only calling eight total fouls – the third quarter opened with three quick whistles being called in less than a minute.  The calls on Bertie did reveal one early Achilles heel for Taylor – she went 0-5 from the free throw line.

However, Bertie’s shooting woes continued.  Spivey made a breakaway layup to get the margin under ten at 36-27; but again, Andrews answered with a three-point shot.   Bertie only got a lay-up and two free throws from Porter the rest of the quarter while Andrews made six-of-eight at the charity stripe to make it 47-31 after three.

Porter opened with a lay-up and Autumn Morings, who’d had a quiet game, finally scored and Bertie had pulled within a dozen at 47-35.  But instead of that being a spark for the home team, Andrews went on another run capitalizing on Falcon miscues and pushing it to 52-35.

It was 57-39 with a little over four minutes remaining when Bertie’s Zhiasia Bazemore went down with a hard fall defending against a lay-up.  Lying motionless on the floor, the game was held up for nearly half-hour before Bazemore was transported to Vidant Bertie Hospital by EMS as a precaution against serious injury, but she was later released.

Bertie tried to use the senior’s effort as a rallying point, but Andrews was too quick.  Four-of-six free throws and more lay-ups off turnovers pushed the score out to a 19-point lead, 61-42.   Porter got all but two of Bertie’s final points before leaving to a standing ovation from the crowd, as the Red Raiders wrapped up their 24th win of the year and ended Bertie’s season at 23-4.

“We’re happy to get a win,” said Andrews coach John Sherin. “We fought hard against a well-coached and very good basketball team.”

“I just want to say to my seniors, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you,’” said Lyons as she exited the gym and the lights dimmed on the floor for the last time. “I can’t wait until next year.”

TW Andrews    10  26  11  17   64

Bertie                10   9    12  17  48

 TW Andrews:  J. Taylor-27, D. Timberlake-17, J. McKoy-9, J.Jordan-4, J. Quick-4, M. Sanders-3.

Bertie: D. Porter-22, J. Earley-10, C. Spivey-9, A. Morings-2, K. Green-2, Z. Bazemore-2, N. Barnes-1.