Lady Bears survive and advance to tourney title game

Published 9:47 am Thursday, February 22, 2024

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AHOSKIE – All a team wants to do while competing in a basketball tournament is survive and advance to the next round.

While their performance here last night (Wednesday) wasn’t the best of the season, Hertford County’s Lady Bears survived a test vs. First Flight and advanced to Friday’s championship game of the Northeastern Coastal Conference tournament.

Despite long stretches of the second and third quarters where HCHS went ice cold from the field, the Lady Bears posted a 52-41 win in a game that was much closer than the final score indicates.

Even the fourth quarter was “hit-or-miss” for HCHS. Brroklynn White opened final period with a basket off an offensive rebound, giving her team a 44-37 lead, but the Lady Bears wouldn’t score from the field again until Adarielle Townsell connected on a shot in the lane with 34 seconds left. In between those two baskets, the Lady Bears missed eight shots from the field and were 7-of-15 from the free throw line.

However, First Flight failed to capitalize as the Lady Nighthawks made only two shots from the field and missed three free throws.

The first period turned into a three-point shooting contest. The visitors bagged a pair of treys while White matched that effort with two of her own from long range. Teammate Jaliyah Mitchell, who scored a game-high 24 points, added one long-range bomb, helping the Lady Bears cling to a 12-11 lead by the end of the opening period.

Thanks to a pair of Mitchell baskets in the early stages of the second quarter, HCHS extended their lead to six (20-14) at the 5:22 mark. But that advantage disappeared as the Lady Bears went just over five minutes without scoring from the field.

First Flight seized the moment, using a pair of three-pointers and a deuce from Abby Miles to spark a 10-1 run and a 24-21 lead for the guests from the Outer Banks.

Gabrielle Joyner finally removed the lid off the HCHS basket as she drained a three-pointer from the left wing with 14 seconds left in the second quarter, allowing the Lady Bears to forge a 24-24 tie at halftime.

Highlighted by four baskets from Mitchell and a three-pointer from White, Hertford County opened the third quarter on an 11-2 run and a 35-26 lead at the 3:23 mark.

But another cold snap by the Lady Bears, this one lasing nearly two minutes, allowed First Flight to rally. Maddy Beatson sparked that comeback as she reeled off seven unanswered points (two deuces and a trey), followed by a Kellen Morris basket that tied the game at 35-35 with 1:58 remaining in the period.

HCHS answered with a basket and two free throws from Mitchell and a three-pointer by White, which afforded the Lady Bears a 42-37 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Hertford County, seeded second in the tournament, will meet top-seeded Northeastern in the championship game. That contest is set for a 6 p.m. tip-off on Friday in Elizabeth City at the Northeastern gym.


Lady Bears (52)

Jaliyah Mitchell – 24, Brooklynn White – 14, Adarielle Townsell- 9, Gabrielle Joyner – 3, Karae Alfred – 2.


Lady Nighthawks (41)

Maddy Beatson – 12, Abby Miles – 11, Hailey Stanley – 6, Summer Stevens – 4, Josephine Voight – 3, Caroline Gardill – 3, Kellen Morris -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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