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Comets remain in tournament chase


As a result of its come-from-behind win over Franklin County High School Wednesday night, the Halifax County High School varsity boys basketball team now has two more chances to earn a berth in the Northwest Region Tournament.

The first of those opportunities comes tonight when the Comets travel to Roanoke to face regular-season district champion Patrick Henry High School at 7 p.m. in one of two district tournament semi-final games.


Patrick Henry High School has already secured the district’s top seed for the Northwest Region Tournament, leaving the second and third seeds to be determined under the expanded regional playoff format that includes three teams from each of the region’s four districts.

A win by the Comets tonight would send them into Tuesday night’s district tournament championship game, and will give them either the second or third seed, depending upon the outcome of the game.

However, if the Comets lose tonight, they will get another opportunity on Tuesday night to earn a regional tournament berth. A loss by the Comets tonight will pit them against the loser of tonight’s William Fleming High School-GW game on Tuesday, with the winner of Tuesday’s game earning the district’s third berth in the Northwest Region Tournament.

The Comets should have some confidence and momentum with them entering tonight’s game against Patrick Henry High School. On Monday the Comets led much of the game before Patrick Henry escaped with a 71-66 win.

And, on Wednesday night, the Comets earned their first district road win of the season with a 60-56 triumph over Franklin County High School in a district tournament play-in game.

“Hopefully we can build on this and go to Patrick Henry High School and give them a solid game,” Comets Head Coach Larry Epperly said after his team’s win over Franklin County High School.

“We played them tough Monday. We had a big lead and let it get away. They’re a good team.”

The big obstacle facing the Comets in tonight’s game is putting the brakes on Patrick Henry High School’s perimeter shooting aces Marcus Banks and B.J. Hamlett. When the two teams met the first time this season in Roanoke PH drained 13 three-point shots. The Patriots drained 10 here Monday night, with Banks sinking eight of them.

“Their guards give us fits,” Epperly pointed out.

“The first game we played them one kid had 25 points and the other night (Monday night) one kid had 30 points. They’re a tough match-up for us because we have to play zone defense, and when they’re making three-point shots we’re at their mercy.”

Another thing the Comets will have to do tonight is limit their turnovers. Halifax County high School had 17 turnovers in Monday night’s loss to the Patriots.