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Comets Fall From The Top

The battle for the Western Valley District lead turned out to be no battle at all. Spurred by an 18-0 run in the last four and a half minutes of the first quarter and a big start in the second half, Patrick Henry High School raced to an easy 71-51 win over Halifax County High School Tuesday night in Roanoke.

The win gave Patrick Henry (9-2 overall, 3-0 district) the lead in the Western Valley District standings. Halifax County fell to 8-3 overall and 1-1 in district play.

“This was like boys to men,” said Comets head coach Lynn Ramage.

“I told my guys there are only two things I can say – that we got out-coached and out-played. That’s the bottom line.”

The bottom line showed itself early.

Patrick Henry led 3-2 after the first three and a half minutes. Ignited by a three-point shot by reserve Cam Jones, who scored seven points in the first quarter, the Patriots drilled the Comets with an 18-0 run that gave them a 21-2 lead at the end of the first eight-minute period.

A 7-0 run by the Comets to start the second quarter cut the Patrick Henry lead to 12 points at 21-9. Three unanswered baskets by the Comets in the final 43 seconds of the second quarter that included two from Markee Brooks, who scored a season-high seven points, and one from Rob Jackson, allowed the Comets to cut the Patrick Henry lead to 30-20 at halftime.

PH took away the Comets’ momentum quickly in the third quarter. A three-point shot by Melvin Henderson a minute and nine seconds into the third quarter swelled the Patriots’ lead to 13 points.

After a free throw by the Comets’ Kejuan Mayo, the Patriots got a three-pointer from Jones. Jones followed by grabbing the rebound from a missed Comets shot and tossing a pass the length of the floor to teammate Ronnie Thomas who put in an easy lay-up to put PH up 38-21. By the time the first three minutes of the third quarter were done, the Comets trailed 40-21.

Halifax County offered no challenge after that, as Patrick Henry, with the help of five three-point shots in the second half and a smooth-running transition game, put the game out of reach.

“The kids did a good job cutting it down to 10 (points) at halftime,” Ramage said.

“On the road like this, when you get a couple of turnovers and they don’t make a basket, you’ve got to capitalize on it. You can’t sit around and do turnover for turnover on the road and expect to win.

“We came out in the first two minutes of the third quarter and it (the PH lead) ballooned up to 20 (points) again. We needed to come out in the second half and get a bucket to cut it down to seven. That’s what a good team does and we haven’t gotten to that point yet.”

Ramage said he knew about Patrick Henry High School’s shooting prowess. The Patriots lit up GW with the long shots when GW faced PH in Roanoke the prior week, with GW, the state’s top-ranked team at the time, losing to PH 76-53.

“We knew they (PH) could do that,” Ramage acknowledged.

“We worked on it. We told them (the players) what they were going to do.

“It’s a tough loss,” added the Comets’ coach.

“We’ll have to do some mental repairs. I don’t think they (the players) expected this to happen.”

Deshon Dabbs led the Comets in scoring with 15 points. Brooks followed with seven points.

The Comets face another big test here tonight. Arch-rival GW, the fourth-ranked team in this week’s Associated Press Group AAA high school basketball poll,
comes to town tonight to face the Comets here at Halifax County High School. Game time is 7:30 p.m.