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GW Shoots Down Comets

Halifax County High School’s quest to land second place in the Western Valley District standings has become a more difficult one. The Comets fell to arch-rival GW 69-51 Monday night in Danville, with the loss dropping the Comets into a tie for third place with GW with two district games remaining this week.

Halifax County will face William Fleming High School Thursday night in Roanoke and will conclude its season Saturday when it hosts Franklin County High School.

GW also has to face William Fleming and Franklin County this week, with the Eagles going on the road for both contests.

Those series of games will determine second through fourth place in the district standings and the seeding for next week’s Western Valley District Tournament.

“I had said to myself if we win two out of three games this week some things can happen,” said Comets head coach Lynn Ramage after Monday night’s loss.

“We’ve got to win these next two games to get a second or third seed. We’ve got to win our last two games and see what happens with everybody else.”

It was a tough night for the Comets, who had only two players to hit double figures in the scoring column. Marcus Williams and Rob Jackson led the team with 11 points each.

Two of the Comets’ biggest scoring weapons, Deshon Dabbs and Kejuan Mayo, were held to nine points and seven points respectively.

The Comets found themselves in trouble early in Monday night’s game after Mayo, the team’s post player, picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter and had to sit out most of the first half.

Despite Mayo being on the bench, the Comets trailed by a slim four-point margin at 17-13 at the end of the first quarter and trailed 22-18 with 3:14 left in the first half.

GW hit the Comets with its first hard volley of the night after that, scoring 10 unanswered points in the final 2:32 of the half to take a 32-18 lead at halftime.

With Mayo back in the game in the second half, Halifax County put together a 12-3 run to cut its deficit to seven points at 37-30 with 3:44 left in the third quarter.

GW coach Bobby Martin called a time-out and switched his team’s defense to a zone defense, something that has rarely been shown by a GW team over the years.

The Comets were unable to get any offense going against GW’s zone defense, hitting only one basket in the final three and a half minutes of the quarter. GW took advantage of the Comets’ drought and opened up a 45-33 lead at the end of the third quarter.

With its zone defense still having its desired effect, GW got its offense rolling early in the fourth quarter with a barrage of long-range shots. Three of the first five shots that GW hit in the fourth quarter were three-pointers as the Eagles outscored the Comets 22-2 in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter to open up a 32-point lead at 67-35.

GW put its reserves on the floor after that and the Comets outscored GW 16-2 over the last two minutes of the game to make the final score respectable.

Ramage noted that the loss of Mayo for most of the first half hurt the team.

“Those two fouls he got killed us,” Ramage said.

“You miss a guy like him when he’s not playing. We can’t beat them without Kejuan.”

GW’s zone defense, which came as a surprise to Ramage and the Comets, also took its tool on the Comets.

“I’ve never seen them do that,” Ramage said.

“We didn’t attack it intelligently. We haven’t done any zone work in over three weeks. The last thing I thought I would see is a zone. That’s great strategy by Coach Martin. I sure hope I see them do it again. I’ll be ready for it next time.”

Ramage said it was a simple matter that the best team won on this night.

“GW played well,” he pointed out.

“They deserved to win this game. I’m not going to make excuses. The better team won tonight.”