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Runnin’ Bear

AHOSKIE – Hertford County gave up a short lead less than two minutes into the game, and then brought the hammer down. The Bears rang it so loud (an 18-point lead midway through the second quarter!) they’re leaving little doubt they are the team to beat in the Northeastern Coastal Conference.

The result was a 74-57 rout of rival Bertie at home, solidifying their hold on first-place in the league at 4-0; while the Falcons fell to 2-2 in conference play.

“It was a good conference win against our arch-rivals,” said Bears coach Charles Simmons. “We had great effort in the first half.”

Jaqwan Baylor opened with a short jumper for Bertie and after a Hertford County free throw, Alden Cottle dropped in a short jumper. 4-1 was the Falcons’ last and only lead. Jaheim Wiggins tied it with a three-pointer and the rout was on. The Bears scored 13 of the next 15, 11 in a row before Joshua Burden ended the run with a rebound put back that left the Falcons trailing 13-8. It was 21-9 at the end of the first quarter, with Wiggins accounting for 11 of the Bears’ points.

The game was a physical contest played out before the standing-room only partisan crowd. At one point, 10 free throw attempts were made by both squads, each seeking a foothold in the paint. It was 2:00 before the break when someone other than Wiggins hit a three-pointer – Karon Nowell. With 1:00 left in the half, the Bears’ lead was 18 points at 35-17. Bertie managed to trim some of that with an 8-0 run of their own and it was 37-25, Bears, at the midway point.

Opening the second half, Maurice Hayes scored his first points for the Falcons, coupled with a Baylor hook shot, and the Bear lead was under double-digits at 37-29. But Hertford County scored a pair in the lane to push the margin back to 13. It was a 15-point lead on a Wiggins drive to the hoop, 48-33, when the teams began swapping buckets. It didn’t help the Falcons much, as they trailed 55-43 headed to the fourth quarter.

In the final frame, Bertie got it under double-digits two more times; 58-49, on a pair of Baylor free throws and 59-50 on a free throw by Deontre’ Bryant. Wiggins, who’d scored all his game-high 21 points for the Bears in the first three quarters, was done for the night. In the final minute, Hertford County doubled up the Falcons, outscoring them 14-to-7 in claiming the 17-point victory.

“In the second half, we ran our half-court sets,” said Simmons, indicating a transition game may’ve had a higher output.

Bertie hosts Edenton Holmes tonight – one of three straight Falcons home games; while Hertford County’s next home contest is Friday against Pasquotank.

BERTIE BOYS (57)

Jaqwan Baylor-21, Joshua Burden-8, Jamarri White-8, Deontre’ Bryant-8, Alden Cottle-6, Maurice Hayes-2, Xavyion White-2, Chris Cooper-2.

HERTFORD COUNTY BOYS (74)

Jaheim Wiggins-21, Keondre Rodgers-17, Avery Hoggard-15, Daylan Askew-8, Michael Savage-7, Karon Nowell-3, Michale Cooper-2, Quinton Wright-1.