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Sports Spotlight: Stokes plays through knee injury to help lead Bertie girls to first state championship game appearance

Bertie won program’s first regional title on Saturday in Greenville
Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 7:14 PM EST
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WINDSOR, N.C. (WITN) - The Bertie girls basketball team is in the state 1A championship game on Saturday. It’s something the program has never made it to before. Seniors have led the Falcons there and we feature senior Jessica Stokes in this week’s Pepsi Sports Spotlight.

“I’m still kind of shocked,” says Bertie senior basketball player Jessica Stokes, “ Excited for us. It just means a lot. I am just proud of myself, and my teammates, and our coaches for everything. All the fans, it just means a lot for us to come this far.”

Lots of hard work after Bertie missed last season due to the pandemic. Jessica Stokes took to the role of senior leader both with her play...

“Was my leading scorer at the end of the year and rebounder,” says Bertie Head Coach Chris Jordan, “She’s our toughest defensive player.”

...and with her voice.

“Taking control and being the older one now,” says Stokes, “It feels good.”

“Bring the girls out, I don’t have to tell them when they warm up or anything,” says Jordan, “She’s just been a great leader all year.”

But mostly leading by showing her toughness. Stokes has been playing through a knee injury throughout her high school career.

“I had a meniscus tear at the beginning of my sophomore year. It had kind of gotten worse at the end of my sophomore year. I was supposed to get it worked on, get surgery during the Covid year,” says Stokes, “But they kept postponing it. So I just iced it, rested and take care of it. I played through it this year.”

“Hurt her knee during the game the other day,” says Jordan, “So we had to take her in and get it taped up and then she came back out.”

Stokes and her teammates have seen their work and determination pay off this week. Winning the programs first ever regional title.

“I don’t even have a word for it,” says Stokes, “It was just like oh my gosh. Do you know what I’m saying. I feel like we work hard to this point and we deserve it.”

“Very excited, this is the first time we have ever experienced this. So, it’s something new for us and we’re very excited,” says Jordan.

Now they get the chance to earn their first ever state title as a group this weekend. They get to play at their favorite school, NC State’s Reynolds Coliseum, to do it.

“I thought they would be more excited about Chapel Hill,” says Jordan, “But when I told them NC State, they were overly excited.”

“It made me wanna go even harder because that’s my favorite school. I watch them like every day,” says Stokes, “It made me so excited and made us all go harder for it.”

Bertie will face Bishop McGuinness in the NCHSAA class 1A girls basketball title game. They play at 2:30 PM at NC State’s Reynolds Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.

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