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Patriots rally past Comets varsity girls


In basketball, a foul shot counts for a single point, field goals for two and three-pointers for three, and that basically summarizes Patrick Henry’s 67-39 win over Halifax County on Friday.

Halifax County went 22-38 from the foul line, and Patrick Henry went 7-12, but the Comets could only connect on seven field goals and one-three pointer during the Senior Night contest.

Patrick Henry, on the other hand, connected on 18 field goals and drained eight three-pointers, four coming in the decisive third quarter as the Patriots turned a 27-22 lead at halftime into a 51-33 advantage with a quarter remaining.

A 16-6 run in the fourth quarter gave the Patriots the 28-point win, but early on the Comets stayed close before defensive breakdowns and turnovers finally started to take their toll, according to Comets’ Head Coach Matthew McCargo.

“We were playing pretty well,” McCargo explained, then “we had defensive breakdowns and turned the ball over in areas of the court where we couldn’t get our defense set back in our man-to-man, and they found people open.”

“We failed to stop No. 24 (Shakeia Salters) from dribbling through the heart of the defense and kicking out.”

The primary beneficiaries of Salters’ penetration were Jewellannia Parfitt, who drained four three-pointers in the game, and Zayhah Stephens, who also hit four three-pointers.

“We still had the usual miscues we always have, the erratic ball handling and missed shots, and we’ve been working hard and trying to fix things, but sometimes it’s just not there,” McCargo added.

Halifax County found gaps in the Patriots’ defense and got to the foul line early on, with Lexi Tucker hitting two field goals and three of four from the line in the opening quarter.

The Comets led early and trailed by only 14-10 after the first quarter, and Comets’ guard Janiyah Logan repeated Tucker’s success in the second quarter, going 6-10 from the foul line after driving the lane.

Tucker was 3-4 at the charity stripe in the second period, but Halifax could connect on only one field goal in the second quarter, that by Briyana Jackson.

Jaynee Campbell hit a field goal and three-pointer in the third quarter to help pull the Comets to within 35-28, but that was as close as the Comets would get the rest of the way, with Salters scoring 14 of her 19 points in the second half and Parfitt 13 of her game-high 20 after intermission.

Tucker finished with 13 points to lead the Comets, while Logan had 11, Campbell five and Logan Holmes, Ashley Hill, Jackson and Brianna Lindsey two points apiece.

Mecca Cole and Che’Lese Bowman added a point each at the free throw line for the Comets (0-6, 6-14).

Patrick Henry (1-4, 11-6) is now a game up on the Comets in the race for a berth in the district tournament, and Patriots’ Head Coach Toree Dunleavy hopes her team can carry that momentum into next week.

“The whole first half we were in foul trouble, so the third quarter we decided to work on inside the three-point line defense,” said Dunleavy.

“We were getting a lot of fouls in transition.  I looked at the book, and they had 22 points and 16 of them were free throws, so we decided to pull back and play inside the three-point line defense.

“Luckily we responded pretty well,” and about the three pointers, Dunleavey said some of her players like to shoot them a little more than she would like.

“But, they were hitting them,” she quickly added.

At the beginning of the season, McCargo told his team the coaches’ job was to prepare them for the next level, but he said Friday that task is still a work in progress.

“We have one who is very, very close to being ready but still needs a lot of work, and that’s Lexi,” said McCargo.

“Everybody’s a long ways away.  We have to work this summer to get a couple of others close, and then we’ll be able to win some ball games.”