Girls Basketball: Golden Falcons Withstand Late New Bern Rally (PHOTO GALLERY)

Girls Basketball: Golden Falcons Withstand Late New Bern Rally (PHOTO GALLERY)

The C.B. Aycock girls’ basketball team appears to be finding its stride.

The Golden Falcons built up a 13-point halftime lead and held on for a 62-56 victory over Eastern Carolina 3A/4A Conference opponent New Bern on Thursday night in Pikeville.

Kaitlyn Smith scored 15 of her game-high 24 points in the first half to go with three three-pointers. Abbey Thomas scored 15 points and snagged 12 rebounds, while Katlyn Parrish added 11 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

“To New Bern’s credit, they fought hard, but we should’ve put them away, but if we’d been this aggrieve earlier in the year, then our record might be a little different by a win or two,” C.B. Aycock head coach Randy Pate said.

It did not take long for Smith to heat up in the first quarter.

Her 12 points helped push the Golden Falcons in front 21-16 at the end of the first quarter.

The Golden Falcons stayed hot in the second quarter, outscoring the Bears 12-5 in the second period to take a 34-21 halftime lead.

“We were doing everything we wanted in the first half,” Pate said. “We were getting open looks, and our shots were falling.”

However, New Bern went to work early in the second half, and the Bears started to trim down C.B. Aycock’s lead.

Using a full-court press defense, the Bears forced multiple turnovers, which led to transition points, but C.B. Aycock still led 45-41 at the end of the third quarter.

The Golden Falcons did a better job of handling New Bern’s press defense in the fourth quarter, and Smith’s three-pointer to play open the fourth quarter increased C.B. Aycock’s lead to 48-41, but the Bears kept battling back, and with just under two minutes left in the game, New Bern trimmed the deficit down to 60-54.

“New Bern’s defense seemed to give a little bit of work, and we had to overcome it,” Pate said. “To the girls’ credit, they overcame bad coaching because I had a different mixture on the floor than what they’re accustomed to, so sometimes we had two people going to the same spot, and that was my fault.

“But they’ve got know their job, even if they’re playing in different positions.”

Thomas hit a layup with 40 seconds left to give the Golden Falcons a 62-54 lead, and they held off the Bears to get the win.

After dropping a close game against South Central earlier this week, the Golden Falcons (5-4 overall) have won two games in a row and are starting to develop chemistry as a team and get a grasp on their roles and responsibilities.

“I like where we’re going, and I like where we’re heading, and I wish that we had a normal season where we could play more games because this has been a fun bunch. It really has,” Pate said.