- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Doug Ford
Nia Brown and Whitney McCargo each scored 19 points, and the Comets varsity girls’ basketball team broke a 12-game losing streak to Patrick Henry in beating the Patriots 66-58 Tuesday in its Western Valley District home opener. Tiffany Wilson finished with a season-high 12 points, Melyse Brown 11 and Shameika Canada five points for Halifax, which hit four 3-pointers for the game, three by McCargo and one by Melyse Brown.
It needed every one of them against a quick, athletic, guard-oriented Patriots’ attack, led by guard Sarah Williams, who counted four 3-pointers among her game-high 27 points.
Patriots guard Jewellanna Parfitt counted three treys among her 11 points and fellow guard Shakeia Salters added 10, but the Comets held the upper hand inside the paint, despite the absence of 6-1 center Destiny Betts.
His team accomplished two goals Tuesday - defend its home court and get a key district win, coach Matthew McCargo noted after the game.
“It wasn’t pretty, and it was a learning experience and a motivational thing for us, so it was very, very important to battle and slug it out right to the end,” he explained.
“I’m proud of everybody, but the whole team and myself as coach have room for improvement, because there were some things I could have done differently tonight as well.”
The Comets took a 5-0 lead on McCargo’s first 3-pointer and a steal by Melyse Brown, and they built leads of 16-8 in the first quarter and 25-14 in the second after Wilson’s three-point play.
Parfitt’s second trey of the game drew the Patriots to within 33-27 with time winding down in the second quarter but Wilson’s late basket made it 35-27 at intermission.
Nia Brown, who worked inside for eight points in the first half, hit two field goals in the third quarter help stem a Patriots’ rally that saw the visitors rally from a 43-36 deficit to take their only lead of the game 46-45 on a Parfitt 3-pointer with a minute left in the third.
A Nia Brown basket and two Melyse Brown free throws made it 49-46 with a quarter remaining, but Patrick Henry tied the game 51-51 on a Williams basket with 5:39 remaining in the game.
The Comets went on a 15-6 run to close out the game, with three baskets from Nia Brown, a basket and 3-pointer from McCargo and buckets from Melyse Brown and Wilson.
Halifax County also helped its cause at the foul line against Patrick Henry. Although 0-1 in the fourth quarter, the Comets shot 70 percent for the game from the foul line, hitting 14 of 20 chances.
Halifax was 8-12 in the third quarter alone, with Melyse Brown 4-4 and Wilson 3-4.
“Patrick Henry is a very talented team and they all think the game, and that’s an area in which we’re lacking sometimes,” commented McCargo.
“They use their teammates well. When we went box and one on Sarah Williams, she penetrated the gap and made two players guard her.
“She knew her teammates would be open, and she found them for easy baskets. She’s an intelligent player and ran the team very well.”
Patrick Henry (3-10, 0-3 WVD), with a junior (Williams), three sophomores and a freshman in its starting lineup, played well in spurts, but at times showed it’s inexperience, according to coach Toree Dunleavy.
“We’re a young team with no seniors, and that kind of hurts us,” she said.
“Williams played well and she’s had a good year so far, but she can’t do it all and needs some help.”
Patrick Henry hit eight 3-pointers Tuesday, five in the first quarter alone in a previous game, and has shot the ball pretty well this season, Dunleavy continued.
Still, it had no answer for the Comets’ inside game Tuesday night, she added.
“I think it was pretty much a game of runs, we’d make one and they’d make one, but we didn’t have much of an answer for Nia Brown,” she commented.
“She out-rebounded us and was pretty much in position the whole game. We’re pretty small and don’t box out well.”
With the first district win in the books, Wilson and Nia Brown both know what to expect when they play arch-rival GW in Danville tonight, but are eager for the challenge.
“We’ve gotten into the swing of the game, and from now on we’re going to play as well as we can,” said Wilson, one of three senior captains along with Nia Brown and McCargo.
“We just had to pick ourselves up with Destiny not playing, and I believe I can play any position they put me at, so I just did the best I could tonight wherever I was.”
Nia Brown added she knew she had to step up her game in the absence of Betts.
“When I found out Destiny wasn’t playing I knew I had to step it up,” she explained.
“I saw early on I could take advantage of them inside, and I felt like I played a lot smarter than the past couple of games,” she added.
Coach McCargo said he knew all along that Nia Brown has possibly the best post moves in the district and beyond.
“She just needed to be patient, take her time and let the offense come to her. That’s what she did in the second half, she was patient and they worked the ball in to her,” he pointed out.
“She made great post moves and scored.”
Halifax County can accomplish another one of its goals Friday night at GW, McCargo continued.
“The game Friday at GW is a very important game because it is a district game.
“Me and the girls have never beaten GW, so it’s been one of our goals.
“We’re now 10-2 (1-1 WVD), so we want to get our winning season out of the way and keep plugging along to our other goals.”