- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Joe Chandler
It was the last thing that the Halifax County High School basketball team needed to see.
In the first minute and 51 seconds of Friday’s home season opener against Person High School, Deshon Dabbs had picked up two fouls and was headed for the bench.
Last year, that may have been enough to take the wind out of the Comets’ sails.
Not this time.
With Rob Jackson, Kejuan Mayo, Marcus Williams, Tevin Gayles and reserve Deshaun Clark leading the way, the Comets took the one-point lead the team had when Dabbs exited the game and expanded it to eight points.
The Comets never lost the lead and shot down the Rockets 67-54 in the clash of the border arch-rivals. With the loss, Person High School fell to 2-3 on the season.
“A win in your first game is always big,” noted Comets head coach Lynn Ramage.
“It sets the stage and the tune for how (good) we can be.”
Dabbs returned to the game and had a big second half, scoring 21 points that included a 7-8 effort at the charity stripe in the fourth quarter. He finished with 26 points.
The real story, though, was how the Comets used team basketball to weather a late second-quarter rally by the Rockets. Person High cut a nine-point Comets lead down to a single point with two minutes left in the first half and trailed by only three points at 28-25 at halftime.
With all five starters back on the floor to start the second half, the Comets wasted little time in taking back control of the game.
A 10-0 run in the first 3:09 of the second half gave the Comets a 14-point 39-25 lead. The Comets led by 12 points (47-35) at the end of the third quarter and built a game-high 16-point lead on two free throws by Markee Brooks with 1:56 left in the contest.
“How much more adversity can you face when your best player is in foul trouble with six minutes to go in the first quarter,” Ramage queried.
“They didn’t panic. The kids stepped up. Deshaun Clark, Marcus (Williams) and others kept their composure and did their thing.”
The team concept, said the Comets players, was the difference maker.
“We have guys that can step up when one guy goes down like Dabbs did in the first half,” said Mayo, who chipped in 14 points, led the team in rebounding with 15 boards and had three steals.
“A couple of guys stepped up for him. We’re a team this year. It was a team effort. A lot of guys stepped up. A lot of guys that didn’t get their chance tonight will get their chance one night and they know that.”
“Everybody was on the same page,” added team co-captain Robert Jackson.
“I may have had an off night, but you have different players that can come in and step in at any time. It’s great.”
While Dabbs and Mayo had a big night, Williams had a steady night with nine points, six assists and three steals. Jackson had six points in the contest. Clark, who came in to score three points in the first quarter when Dabbs exited the game, finished with five points.
Even with the good start in the season opener, Ramage said there are plenty of things the team needs to work on.
“We did not shoot free throws well in the first half and missed a lot of lay-ups,” Ramage pointed out.
“They say free throws and lay-ups are the two most consistently missed shots. We proved that in the first half.
“We have a long way to go,” concluded Ramage, “but I’m happy that at the end of the day we got the “w.”
Along withy the effort of his team, Ramage was appreciative of the support of the large number of fans that turned out to greet the team on opening night.
“We really appreciate the support of the fans,” Ramage said.
“We particularly appreciate the support of the Comets Crazies. It was great to have them back in the house. We hope they will continue to come out and support us like they did Friday night.”