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Person High School takes Holiday Classic championship with 65-47 win over Comets

The third time was no charm for Halifax County High School when it faced Person (N.C.) High School Wednesday night in the championship game of the Halifax County High School Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament.

After having played the Rockets close in two previous meetings, Person (N.C.) High School and its standout player, Tyrone Outlaw, took the Comets out of contention early enroute to an easy 65-47 win.

“It’s always a tough job coming up here and winning, whether it’s the regular season or this Christmas Classic,” Person (N.C.) High School Head Coach Charles Dacas said after the win that gave the Rockets their second straight Holiday Classic championship.

“The main thing was we played defense a whole lot better for a long stretch of time. We got off to a good start, maintained our defensive intensity and did a good job of sharing the basketball with our teammates.”

Outlaw, a Division I college prospect, was the difference-maker, especially in the first half. He scored 14 of his game-high 25 points in the first half as the Rockets raced out to a 10-0 lead in the first three minutes of the game and pulled away to a 30-14 lead at halftime.

“Three of our six losses have come against Person, and each time we allowed him (Outlaw) to beat us,” pointed out Halifax County High School Head Coach Larry Epperly after the loss that dropped the Comets’ record 2-6 on the season.

“That’s hard to swallow, but that’s the way it is. At halftime we had 14 points and he had 14 points. He’s the difference. He hurts you in so many ways. We just don’t have anybody that can guard him.”

Meanwhile, one of the Comets’ key figures, Freddie Edmunds, had one of his toughest nights of the season. Edmunds, who was shadowed by Outlaw most of the game, was held to eight points, managing only four points through the first three quarters.

“Freddie got some good looks,” Epperly noted.

“He’s just undersized playing against Outlaw.”

Halifax County’s best run of the game came in the final period. Trailing 52-19 entering the fourth quarter, the Comets outscored the Rockets 17-2 in the first three and a half minutes of the period to pull to within 18 points at 54-36.

The Comets had three three-point baskets in the run, with Ford Bradshaw hitting two and Keemna Jones sinking the other. Eight of the Comets’ points in the run came from Bradshaw, who led the Comets in scoring with 14 points.

Outlaw came off of the bench ands broke the Comets’ run. His basket and a bucket from Maurelle Stephens pushed the Rockets’ lead back to 22 points and ended the Comets’ late surge.

“Our execution was just not there tonight,” Epperly pointed out.

“At times the effort was there. I thought at times we got good looks. At other times we were impatient and took bad shots. We’re making mistakes, and the ball just won’t go in the hole. Every time you take a bad shot, they (Person) make you pay on the other end.”