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Comets girls look to secure berth in state tournament

The Comets girls’ varsity basketball team is looking to clear one final hurdle in its effort to secure a berth in the state AAA tournament, as they travel to Woodbridge tonight for a Northwest Regional semifinal game against Forest Park at 7 p.m. The Bruins, the Cardinal District champion, enter the contest with a 21-3 record, including a convincing 75-27 win over Heritage-Leesburg Tuesday in the first round of the regionals.

Halifax County is coming off a 65-54 win over Riverbend in the regional quarterfinals, and coach Matthew McCargo knows the games only get tougher from here on out.

“We’re happy to have taken that first step, and we’re looking to take that second step, and it’s a big one,” said McCargo.

“Forest Park is a quality program, they’ve been good for awhile, and they’re going to be good again next year.

“They’re solid.  I’ve found out they have some size but don’t utilize it on offense, they use that size to defend down on the other end.

“They’re a good perimeter shooting team and they shoot a lot of three’s, and I understand they have a couple of prospective [Division I] players, all shooters.

“Sometimes, they’ll do a four out and one in, with a post player and four players on the perimeter, so we’ll have to be on our “P’s” and “Q’s” and cover four or five spots.

“It sounds like we’re going to have our hands full, and we’re going to have to go out and give it 110 percent and play Lady Comet basketball from beginning to end.”

Looking back at the Comets’ only loss, coming in the district semifinals against Patrick Henry, the Comets realized they needed to refocus their energy and intensity for post-season play, and they regained that edge against Riverbend, according to McCargo.

“We want to come out and get a quick start,” said McCargo.  “We have nine seniors, including all five starters and the first one off the bench, and they all want to go out as winners.

“I told them I don’t think anybody in the state can beat us if we’re playing the way we’re capable of playing.

“The best thing you can do at the end of a ball game is look back and say you wouldn’t change a thing and know you gave 100 percent.”
McCargo thinks the pressure lies with Forest Park.

“We’re looking forward to this challenge, there’s no pressure on us, we’ve met all of our goals, and the only goal now is to win the state championship,” he pointed out.

“Forest Park wins all the time, they always go to the state, and it’s not new territory to them, but it is for us.

“So, the sense of urgency will be much greater for us than for them, so I hope we’ll come out and play harder and want that goal even more than they do.”