Security increased as Bertie County and Washington County fans attend fourth meeting between the basketball rivals

WASHINGTON COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) -Fans of two high school basketball teams in the east were able to cheer on their squads in person Friday night, after not being allowed to do so when the two teams played last month.

Bertie County and Washington County pride was on full display for a state playoff round four matchup between the rivals, but the sold-out crowd had to go through security checkpoints before entering the gym.

“We’re here today, we’re going to do what we have to do,” said spectator, Courtney Winborne. “We’re going to conduct ourselves as adults and fans.”

Officials announced that fans would be allowed in person for Friday’s game, however, that wasn’t the case two weeks ago when spectators were barred from attending the Four Rivers Conference Championship game between the two schools.

“Prior to that game there was an incident between people from Washington County and Bertie County,” said Washington County Principal, Torrey Hines. “We didn’t have much information so out of safety caution we decided the best one was to have the game with no fans.”

Hines says the two school systems discussed playing Friday’s game at a neutral sight but decided not to because this was the last game ever at the current Washington County school and gym.

“For our fans one last time in this gymnasium, we had to have it right here,” Hines said.

Hines says both schools felt that it would be fine for the Panthers to host the game as long as the security presence was increased.

Deputies from Washington County and Bertie County could be seen outside and inside the gym.

Some believe it made the fan experience safer.

“It’s good to see everybody come out,” said spectator, Rwenshaun Miller. “We had no issues, we enjoyed the game and Bertie came out on top.”

Bertie did get the big 61-43 win over their rival Washington County.

This was the fourth time the two teams played this year, but this one meant way more than the other games.