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Edmunds, Hamlett lead late rally to give Comets 60-56 win

 

Down by seven points with just over two minutes remaining in the game, things didn’t look very good for Halifax County High School as it battled Franklin County High School Wednesday night for the final berth in tonight’s Western Valley District Tournament.

But, for Freddie Edmunds and Tavaras Hamlett, the night was far from over.

 

The pair put the team on their shoulders to lead an 11-0 Comets run over the final one minute and 52 seconds of the game that gave the Comets a 60-56 win that allowed them to advance into the Western Valley District Tournament.

“You’ve got to give our kids all the credit in the world,” said Comets Head Coach Larry Epperly after his team’s first district road win of the season.

“Down seven with two minutes to play, a lot of teams would have folded, but they just kept working. Freddie kept encouraging them. I could see him out there saying, ‘c’mon, let’s go,’ and lo and behold we made some plays, got a little momentum and were able to finish it.”

The Eagles’ Ethan Adams had pounded the ball inside on the Comets several times before two straight baskets gave his team a 56-49 lead with 2:15 left. Franklin County was looking to extend the lead, but Ford Bradshaw, stole the ball and sank a layup for two of his 13 points on the night to cut the Comets’ deficit to five points with 1:52 remaining.

Following a turnover by the Eagles, Edmunds, who led the Comets in scoring with 16 points, drove inside for a basket and was fouled. He completed a three-point play with 1:15 left to bring the Comets to within three points at 56-53.

Then, it was Hamlett’s turn. Saddled with four fouls, Hamlett had spent a good deal of time on the bench. Faced with a one-and-one opportunity at the free throw line with 54 seconds left in the game, Hamlett hit the first shot, but missed the second.

Edmunds grabbed the rebound, tossed the ball back to Hamlett, and Hamlett drilled an eight-foot jumper into the basket to put the Comets on top 57-56 with 46 seconds left in the game.

“I had an open lane and took the shot,” Hamlett said.

“It was a real good look. I was wide open.”

Hamlett, who finished the game with 13 points, sank two free throws with 26.2 seconds left and Bradshaw hit one of two free throws with 9.3 seconds left to seal the four-point win.

“He (Hamlett) made some big plays,” Epperly pointed out.

“We had to sit him with four fouls, and he had to sit there a long time. We weren’t real sure when was the time we needed to put him back into the game. I’m glad he got back in there when he did.”

It was an up-and-down night for the Comets. Franklin County High School opened the game by running up a 10-0 lead. At the end, it was an 11-0 run by the Comets that produced the victory.

In between, it was a story of the Comets regaining the lead, which they did with a 13-0 run in the last 2:17 of the first quarter to go up 21-13.

Franklin County closed to within two points in the second quarter, but a late 8-0 second-quarter run put the Comets up 33-26 at halftime.

A 7-0 run by the Eagles to start the third quarter deadlocked the game. Halifax County briefly regained the lead at the end of the third quarter, only to fall behind again at the outset of the fourth quarter.

“The 10-0 start didn’t scare me because I knew we’d find a way to score and get back even,” Epperly said.

“We knew going in that we were evenly matched. We knew it was going to close regardless of who made runs. We had to make some plays and we did. We got stops at the end when we needed them in the last two minutes. Not only were we able to get the stops, we were able to convert them into points.”

 

Stats

HALIFAX COUNTY

21 12 11 16-60

FRANKLIN COUNTY

13 13 17 13-56

 

HALIFAX COUNTY (60): Bradshaw 4 2-4 13, Edmunds 7 2-4 16, Ford 0 0-0 0, Johnson 2 0-0 4, Delaware 0 2-2 2, Jones 5 0-0 12, Hamlett 4 3-4 13. Totals: 22 9-14 60.

 

FRANKLIN COUNTY (56): Eliis 0 0-0 0, Phillips 1 2-4 4, Flynn 3 1-2 10, Ponder 0 0-0 0, Witcher 2 4-4 8, Clements 3 5-6  13, Alderman 0 0-0 0, Adams 9 0-0, 18, Harper 0 0-0 0, Blankenship 1 0-0 3. Totals: 19 12-16 56.

 

Halftime score: 33-26 Halifax County. Three-point goals: Hamlett (HC) 2, Jones (HC) 2, Bradshaw (HC) 3, Blankenship (FC), Clements (FC) 2, Flynn  (FC) 3. Total fouls: Halifax County 12, Franklin County 12. Fouled out: none.

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