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Falcon boys, girls teams in Classic Final

AHOSKIE – Bertie High-Northeastern High boys basketball games are usually close affairs. Thursday’s semi-final of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald Holiday Classic may have been a first: the first time the Falcons had taken a 20-point blowout win over the Eagles with their 77-56 victory.

Alden Cottle’s trio of three-pointers and a pair of clutch lay-ups down the stretch helped cement the win for Bertie. Cottle led all scorers with 20 points.

“Our shots were falling and we were going hard after rebounds,” said Bertie coach Chris Jordan. “After we missed out on getting last week’s tournament (losing to Williamston Riverside), I told the guys we can’t afford to lose any more games we should win.”

What they shouldn’t – or maybe, haven’t – done is out together such a dominating performance over their fellow 2A Northeastern Coastal Conference rival.

From the beginning, this game seemed different from other Eagle-Falcon encounters. Ahead by three early, 8-5, Cottle and Deontre’ Bryant ripped a pair of three-pointers and the lead was suddenly nine, 14-5. From there, the Falcons went on an 8-to-2 tear, causing Northeastern coach Ronald Nixon to call his second first-quarter time out. The Eagles went on a 9-to-4 run of their own and trailed 26-17 after the first quarter.

Four quick points got Northeastern within five (26-21) before Bertie went on another tear. Nine straight made it 35-21, Falcons, as the game became more physical sending both teams marching to the free-throw line. The Eagles missed four-of-six while Bertie made theirs, and after another Cottle trey, the Falcon lead was 15, 40-25.  A short Eagle spurt made it 42-29 by halftime.

An 8-to-3 second half start got Bertie up by 18, (50-32) but the Eagles turned up their defense and cut their deficit to 12, at 52-38. However, an 11-5 Bertie run with five fresh Bertie bodies on the floor made it plus-18 after the third quarter, 61-43.

Much of Northeastern’s shooting woes came courtesy of Bertie’s 1-3-1 zone defense, with six-eight Jaqwan Baylor patrolling the middle.  It forced a perimeter game from the Eagles and the shots failed to fall. Down the stretch, Baylor, Cottle and Deontre’ Bryant closed out the big win, sending Bertie to their first Classic final in more than a decade.

“We’ve had good practices leading up to this,” added Jordan. “Now that we’re in the championship, we have to just be ready.”

NORTHEASTERN

BOYS  (56)

Adrian Spellman-17, Jahri Leigh-11, Kamari Braswell-9, Da’Quan Duton-8, Colin Riddick-4, Aaron Harris-4, Tashar McCray-2, William Riddick-1.

BERTIE BOYS (77)

Alden Cottle-20, Jaqwan Baylor-18, Deontre’ Bryant-13, Jamarri White-7, Joshua Burden-6, Xaviyon White-4, Chris Cooper-2, Isiah Williams-2, Darius Rascoe-2, Maurice Hayes-2, Kelvin Rascoe-1.