Bears end long drought by crushing Eagles

Published 4:44 pm Friday, December 30, 2022

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AHOSKIE – The last time Hertford County’s boy’s basketball team won the RC News-Herald Holiday Classic championship game, the oldest members of this year’s squad were in the third grade.

That long drought ended in emphatic fashion here Thursday night.

Led by three players in double figures (17 points from Israel Powell, 14 by Rimiez Williams, and 12 from Keveon Rodgers), the Bears crushed conference rival Northeastern, 70-52, to claim the tournament’s first-place hardware.

“We played our game from start to finish,” said HCHS veteran head coach Charles Simmons who watched his team improve to 7-1 overall. “We really got after them defensively and our offense fed off that defensive effort.”

The Bears only trailed once (6-5) as they closed the first quarter on a 10-6 run to lead 15-12 at the end of the period. Rodgers and Justin Holloman fueled that offensive spurt by scoring four points apiece.

After Northeastern closed to within 15-14 thanks to a basket from Sayvion Saunders to open the second quarter, Williams got the Bears offense rolling again with a three-point play. By the time Powell turned his steal into a powerful slam dunk on the other end, HCHS had opened up a 22-14 lead a shade over two minutes into the period.

Fueled by a pair of buckets from Saunders, the Eagles edged to within 24-20, but the Bears scored 13 of the game’s next 15 points sparked by four free throws from Powell, a basket and a pair of charity tosses by Shimere Garris, and a bucket each from Jeremiah Benthall and Rodgers, who rattled the rim with a dunk after grabbing a defensive rebound and drove uncontested to the hoop.

Hertford County led 38-24 at halftime.

Northeastern’s final surge came over the opening two minutes of the third quarter where a three-pointer each from Ethan Walton and Xavier McNeal sparked an 8-2 run that allowed the Eagles to cut their deficit to 40-32.

Williams got the Bears offense back in gear as he drained a three-pointer and followed with a deuce off his offensive rebound. Powell and Benthall added a bucket each as the Bears opened up a 49-36 lead by the end of the quarter.

Hertford County sealed the win with an 11-0 run to open the fourth period, highlighted by Powell’s slam dunk.

Rodgers was named as the Tournament MVP. Joining him on the All-Tournament Team were Jayden Robinson, Williams, and Powell.

Hertford County (70)

Israel Powell – 17, Rimiez Williams – 14, Keveon Rodgers – 12, Jayden Robinson – 7, Justin Holloman – 6, Jeremiah Benthall – 5, Shimere Garris – 4, Ahmad Rodgers – 3, William Valentine – 2.

Northeastern (52)

Sayvion Saunders – 16, DeVaughn Bell – 10, Tyell Saunders – 8, Unique Blount – 5, James Hornthal – 5, Xavier McNeal – 3, Ethan Walton – 3, Jayden Alexander – 2.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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