- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY JOE CHANDLER AND DOUG FORD
Tonight is a big night for the Halifax County High School varsity boys and girls basketball teams as they kick off Western Valley District play tonight against William Fleming High School. The Comets boys will face William Fleming here tonight at 7:30 p.m. while the girls will travel to Roanoke for their contest, which also starts at 7:30 p.m.
Both teams have gotten their season off to a good start with the Comets girls taking a seven-game winning streak and a 9-1 record into tonight’s game.
The Comets boys team, which started the week ranked within the top 15 in the Virginia Associated Press high school poll, will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak tonight.
After having won its first seven games, the Comets varsity boys team lost to Liberty Christian Academy Monday night in Lynchburg and was beaten by Person High School 67-62 Tuesday night in Roxboro, N.C.
Tonight’s game against William Fleming offers the Comets (7-2 overall) an opportunity to snap out of the two-game losing streak and get a leg up in Western Valley District play.
“We’ll be ready,” promised Comets head coach Lynn Ramage.
“We lost two in a row. So what? We’ve just to make sure we’re prepared for this game and the other district games. This (the Western Valley District games) is what really matters.”
Winners of seven straight and nine of 10 to start the season, the Comets varsity girls basketball team is off to one of its best starts in many, many seasons.
Halifax is coming off a win in the HCHS Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament, its second straight, and has three wins over Person High in its hoops resume.
The Lady Comets also have beaten Gretna, E.C. Glass, Liberty Christian Academy, while losing only to Southern Durham (N.C.).
Now comes the first Western Valley District contest for the Comets with tonight’s game against William Fleming High School.
With the goal of winning the Holiday Classic accomplished, the next goals are achieving a winning season and locking up a bid to the Northwest Regionals, coach Matthew McCargo noted.
A win tonight at Fleming would be a big step toward those goals, he added.
“I told the girls about holding home-court advantage, because the district is going to be so tough and so close.
“You’ve got to win at home, and on the road you have to steal one, but we’re looking at us as favorites going to the game at Fleming.
“If we lose, it’s going to be an upset, because we’re going in there fighting for a win on the road at a brand new facility where they just knocked off a state-ranked team (Franklin County).”
Although acknowledging Fleming’s strengths, McCargo also is confident the Comets can overcome the Lady Colonel’s home court advantage.
That confidence stems from his team’s win last season at Fleming in the first round of the Western Valley District Tournament.
“What we have to do is play to our strengths, play all out and play as one team, with one effort, that’s been our motto all along,” McCargo explained.
“They have Saleese Stovall (6-1 Fleming center), a Division I player, and she’s big and strong, so we’ll have to keep the ball from going inside to her.
“We’re going to have to go to our strengths with Destiny Betts and Nia Brown inside, but we’ll have to have our outside shooters ready to knock down some shots to give our inside players some room.”
Fleming has scoring options other than Stovall at other positions, McCargo admits, but he quickly pointed out that he and his team are looking forward to the challenge, particularly seniors Whitney McCargo Brown and Tiffany Wilson.
“It’s their senior year and they know this is their last chance to get a winning record, get past the first round of the district and get to the regionals,” said McCargo.
“It’s their year and they’re looking forward to getting the job done.
“Having a 9-1 record is good, it’s great and we’re more than halfway to our goal of having a winning season.
“Once we get that, we’ll celebrate for awhile and then try to get as many more wins as possible.”