Bertie falls in Eastern Regional finals

Published 2:06 pm Sunday, March 5, 2023

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FOUR OAKS – One game short.

Bertie’s bid to play for a state basketball championship, their first since 1970, ended here Saturday afternoon where the top-seeded Falcons fell to second-seeded Wilson Prep, 61-57, in the NCHSAA Class 1A Eastern Regional finals.

Bertie’s Jah’Kelvin Rascoe (#3) drives to the basket in Saturday’s Class 1A Eastern Regional title game where the Falcons saw their bid for a spot in the state championship game end in a 61-57 loss to Wilson Prep. Photo by Steven Ferguson

The Falcons closed out an excellent season at 26-5 overall, which included their conference regular season and tournament championships.

Wilson Prep, who improved to 26-7 overall, will meet Western Regional champion Eastern Randolph in Class 1A state title game on March 11.

Zy’Lee Bazemore led Bertie with 21 points. Jah’Kelvin Rascoe (11) and Trevon Halleran (10) also scored in double digits for the Falcons.

Wilson Prep’s Jahmar Jones led all scorers with 26 points. Lez Minter Jr. added 13 points while Brandon Anderson chipped in 11 points.

Bertie led 32-25 at halftime, but the Falcons struggled offensively in the third period where they mustered only eight points and trailed by one (41-40) entering the final period of play.

Bazemore put Bertie on his back over the final eight minutes. The senior sharpshooter buried a trio of long-range bombs to highlight his 11-point outburst in the period.

But Jones and Minter were tough down the stretch for Wilson Prep as the Tigers used clutch free throws, including five from Minter, to hold off Bertie.