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Comets hoops practice, tryouts begin

Halifax County High School basketball coaches are hoping for good numbers today for the official start of practice and tryouts for the school’s winter sports teams. New Halifax County High School varsity boys basketball coach Larry Epperly is hoping to see a lot faces today, but doesn’t quite know what to expect based upon early off-season conditioning and workouts.

“The numbers have not been really good,” Epperly said when asked about how the off-season conditioning and workouts had gone.

“We’ve had five or six kids that have been pretty diligent in workouts and conditioning. I really have no idea what to expect. People tell me it could be 20 kids, but I don’t know.”

The new Comets coach said he knows he will pick up four players that just finished up the season with the Comets varsity football team Friday night. He said he is also expecting to pick up a pair of players from the Comets cross country team, which ended its season Thursday.

Epperly said one of the things he is working on this season is attempting to change the culture surrounding the Comets boys basketball program.

“We need to get the kids to understand how hard they need to work in order to get good,” Epperly said.

“There are kids we know that are out there that haven’t been coming. They’ve got to understand that if they want to be good they have to work.”

Comets head varsity girls coach Matthew McCargo is looking to replenish his squad, which had nine seniors to graduate from last year’s team that finished the regular season with a 20-0 mark.

“I’m hoping we will have numbers in the 30’s between the two teams (the varsity and junior varsity teams),” McCargo said.

“I’m expecting 14 or 15 girls to try out for the varsity team. I’m thinking we will have some girls that are not on the radar that will come out.”

McCargo said while he wants to get the best players possible and have a successful season, he is going to be looking toward the future as well.

“I want to go as young as possible,” McCargo pointed out.

“We want to take the best players that we feel can help us now as well as in the future.”

McCargo noted he wants to try to get as balanced a squad as possible between sophomores, juniors and seniors, so that the team will have a good core group of players coming back next season as well as future seasons.

“You don’t want to start building something and then have a lot of your players be gone in one year,” he said.

The Comets coach said he expects to be far enough along that he can have his team selected by late week.

“I’m expecting that it shouldn’t take more than two or three days to pick the team,” McCargo noted.

“I’m hoping we can make our selection after Wednesday’s practice and post it on Thursday. I can’t see it going beyond that unless something unexpected happens.”

McCargo said he is feeling some early-season pressure.

“Everybody is asking are we going to be a good team this year,” McCargo explained.

“We lost nine seniors from last year’s team, so there will be some adjustments. I can’t tell you how good we’re going to be at this point. But, I think we’re going to be better than most people think we’re going to be.

“We’re going to be entertaining,” McCargo added.

“We’re going to win some games.”

Basketball is not the only sport that has practice and tryouts beginning today. Halifax County High School’s wrestling team, swim teams and indoor track teams also launch their 2011-2012 seasons today.