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Comets coach: ‘We just didn’t get it done’

It would have been very easy for Halifax County High School Head Coach Larry Epperly to delve into a litany of excuses as to why the Comets basketball team was unable to play its way out of the district playoffs.

They would have included poor rebounding with a small front line, and having a pair of starters miss the past two district playoff games as a result of illness and injury. And, at too many key times, the team faltered due to turnovers and defensive miscues.

Epperly, however, refused to languish in those and other shortcomings following the Comets’ season-ending 63-43 loss to William Fleming High School Tuesday night in Roanoke.

“I know when you lose you’re always looking for a couple of excuses,” the veteran coach remarked.

“The bottom line is we just didn’t get it done. We’ve got to learn from it.”

While the season came to a disappointing end Tuesday night, there were some positives. The nine wins the Comets posted this season eclipsed Halifax County High School’s win total of the past two seasons.

Also, the team’s three wins in regular-season district play eclipsed the number of Western Valley District wins a Comets team has had in the past two seasons. Halifax County also won a district play-in game on the road against Franklin County High School to earn a berth in the district’s post-season tournament.

The positives, though, were not much consolation to Epperly, who has been given the task of rebuilding the Comets basketball program.

“You just hate losing,” Epperly said in looking at his team’s final 9-14 record.

“It’s hard to be satisfied with a losing season. We won nine games and felt like we could have won a couple more along the way. As coaches, we want to win them all.”

The Comets had their share of opportunities to set themselves up in good shape for post-season play. With a sure lock on either third or fourth place and a berth in the district tournament on the line, the Comets beat Franklin County High School in their next-to-last regular-season game. Then, they came up just shy of locking up a district tournament berth when they gave regular-season and eventual district tournament champion Patrick Henry High School a real scare before taking a tough 71-66 home loss in the final game of the regular season.

After that, the Comets beat Franklin County High School in a play-in game to make the field for the district tournament. Even though the Comets were a fourth seed, they had two opportunities to earn a berth in the Northwest Region Tournament, but came up short with losses to Patrick Henry High School and William Fleming High School.

“We just weren’t able to capitalize on some opportunities that we had,” Epperly pointed out.

“We had some chances to break through and do some things, but couldn’t take advantage of it.

“It seems like it’s been a year of bad luck,” Epperly added.

“We haven’t had a whole lot of things go right for us, especially here at the end with sickness and injury.”

With the season now over, Epperly will soon begin the task of evaluating the season, looking at the players in the program, and start working toward next season and continuing to build the Comets basketball program.

“Now, with the season being over, that’s where it really is,” Epperly remarked.

“We’ve got a lot of kids to look at and decide on what their future is, and start thinking about next year. We’ve got to evaluate a lot of things in order to go forward.”