Still Perfect

Published 9:56 am Thursday, February 25, 2016

WINDSOR – It’s not how you start, the old cliché goes, it’s how you finish.

After two regular-season games that were much closer, Pasquotank never found the right formula here Tuesday night and were routed by Bertie, 54-27, in the first round of the 2A NCHSAA girl’s basketball playoffs.

Akyia King, playing point guard in place of injured Jomiya Earley, broke free for nine points in the second half as the Lady Falcons, then used her defense to turn up the pressure in a 31-point performance for the half.

King finished with 13 points leading the Bertie scoring while teammate Jakiyah Askew added 11 more off the bench. Amaya Simpson had 17 for Pasquotank.

“I think down the stretch their spirit began to falter,” said Bertie coach Joan Sharpe McCullough. “They didn’t play us like they had in games past.”

It took the Lady Panthers a while to get going and Bertie took advantage. After surrendering a 2-0 lead, the Lady Falcons scored eight unanswered, led by Autum Morings, and ended the first quarter in front 8-4.

Eight more Bertie points opened the second quarter for a 16-4 lead. A Kennedy Griffin three-pointer broke the Falcons’ streak before Bertie closed the half on a 7-3 run for a 23-10 halftime lead.

The Falcons opened the second half with nine in a row for a 22-point lead, 32-10. Simpson tried to give her team a lift with four straight Panther points in the paint, but the quarter ended with Bertie up by 20, 34-14.

Simpson scored inside to open the fourth and after three quarters of zone defense, Bertie unleashed its full-court press. The subsequent Pasquotank turnovers became easy lay-ups and boosted the home team ahead by 27, 43-16.

McCullough then began to clear her bench and the game finished as a 27-point first-round win for the four-seed, sending them to a second-round date with Roanoke Rapids tonight (Thursday).

“After all these conference (opponents), I think they’re ready to see somebody new,” said McCullough. “This should pick us up.”