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Comets snap five-game losing streak; advance to Holiday Classic finals

 

Halifax County High School finally snapped its lengthy losing streak.

Playing in Tuesday night’s opening round of the 18th Annual Halifax County High School Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament, the Comets snapped a five-game losing streak with a 67-50 win over the Pamlico County (N.C.) High School Hurricanes.

 

The win, which improved the Comets’ record to 2-5 on the season, allowed the Comets to advance into Wednesday night’s tournament finals against neighboring border rival Person (N.C.) High School.

“You’re always pleased to win,” said Comets Head Coach Larry Epperly.

“But, we still need to get a lot better.”

The Comets had their best shooting night of the season, hitting six of 25 shots from the three-point stripe. They also had one of their best nights in terms of taking care of the basketball, losing the ball to turnovers on only five occasions.

Freddie Edmunds had a big night individually, leading the Comets with 21 points, all but four of which came in the first half. Edmunds scored 11 of the Comets’ 17 first-quarter points as the Comets, spurred by an 8-0 run in the first two and a half minutes of the game, held a 17-8 edge after the first eight minutes of action.

The Comets steadily built their advantage through the second quarter, with a dunk by Edmunds with 2:56 left in the first half, extending the Comets’ lead to 35-12. Halifax County led by as many as 25 points in the second quarter, that lead coming when Keenma Jones, who had 11 points in the game, hit one of two free throws with 2:03 left in the half. A three-point shot by Jones with 38 seconds left in the half gave the Comets a 41-19 lead at halftime.

“We got off to a good start and made some baskets,” Epperly pointed out.

“We executed well against their zone at times, and got some good shots. For the first time in a long time, we made some three-point shots.”

Baskets by Edmunds and Ford Bradshaw to kick off the second half extended the Comets’ lead to a game-high 26 points at 45-19 with 6:54 left in the third quarter.

The Comets led by 26 points when the Hurricanes found a little wind and reeled off nine unanswered points to cut the deficit to 17 points with 2:53 left in the quarter.

Bradshaw, who had 11 points in the contest, snapped the Hurricanes’ run with a three-point basket, but the Hurricanes outscored the Comets 10-3 in the final two and a half minutes of the quarter to make it a 13-point game at 54-41.

Pamlico County (N.C.) cut the Comets’ lead to 11 points with a three-point basket by Jaylen Fornes, who led the team with 15 points, with 5:43 left in the game.

Halifax County got back on track with a 10-2 run over the next four minutes, with half of the points coming from Jones, to extend its lead back to 19 points. From there, the Comets were able to easily close out the 17-point win.

“We just didn’t have the effort to start the second half,” Epperly noted.

“We had a big lead at halftime, and in the second half we went into a coast mood. We weren’t playing as hard as we needed to play, and allowed them to make some shots and get a little momentum.

“If you’re going to be a good basketball team, you just can’t have those ups and downs,” Epperly added.

“I wish we had played a little harder and had gone on and put it (the game) away. We didn’t.”