Still perfect

Published 10:02 am Tuesday, February 16, 2016

AHOSKIE – The ‘new-ness’ is off now.

While Bertie High made a coaching change to begin the season, Joan McCullough has proved that while this may be her first year with the Lady Falcons, but she knows the route to Victory Lane.

She and her team found their way there Saturday, and with Bertie’s 64-50 win here over Hertford County, the Lady Falcon had run the table in the Northeastern Coastal Conference: 12-0, and 22-0 overall to end the regular season.

“I’m proud of my girls,” McCullough said after Saturday’s victory. “Having a brand-new coach and having to learn a whole new system, they deserve the credit.”

Bertie broke open a close game in the first quarter with an 8-2 run at the four minute mark to stake them to a 13-5 lead. Kyara Rodgers’ lay-up helped the Lady Bears cut the deficit to 13-7 after one quarter of hoops.

In the second quarter, Bertie showed off their prowess from the perimeter. Jomiya Earley – who missed a couple of games with injury – found her three-point stroke and she and Carlisa Spivey dropped in a pair of treys each. After falling behind by a dozen twice in the frame, HCHS re-grouped to get within seven, 26-19, on D.L. Watford’s three-pointer. But Bertie closed the quarter with a 6-0 run to head to halftime up 32-19.

Jessica Weaver, who took scoring honors for Hertford County, opened the second half with a three-pointer to get the Bears within ten. But the Lady Falcons went to their bread-and-butter: pressure defense to force turnovers for easy lay-ups and pushed their lead out to 42-25. Bertie matched that 17-point margin twice more in the period, including at the end of the third quarter where they led it 52-35.

Bertie’s lead grew to as many as 19, 54-35, before McCullough began to clear her bench, allowing a total of eight players to get into the scorebook. The Falcons closed it out with a 14-point win.

“We’ve been pushed in games a lot more than people think,” McCullough said. “But I think that’s prepared us for the post-season. We’ll be ready.

Bertie drew a first-round bye for this week’s Northeastern Coastal Conference tournament. They’ll play their first game Thursday in the semi-finals at Northeastern.

Lady Falcons (64)

Autum Mornings-19; Carlisa Spivey-13; Jomiya Earley & Akia Jordan-9; Nyasia Barnes-7; Akiya King-4; Zariah Harris-2; Jakiyah Askew-1.

Lady Bears (50)

Jessica Weaver-19; Kyara Rodgers-13; Ariana Vinson-9; Destiny Chavis-6; D.L. Watford-3.