- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Joe Chandler
The chase for the Western Valley District regular-season title reaches the halfway mark tonight with Halifax County High School facing a key contest.
Halifax County will travel to Franklin County High School tonight to face the Eagles in a contest that will place one of the two teams in sole possession of second place in the standings.
“We’re 0-1 in the district on the road and this is a must-win game for us,” said Comets head coach Lynn Ramage following his team’s 62-47 win Tuesday night over Gretna High School in Gretna.
“I figure if we can win our (district) home games and win 50 percent of our (district) games on the road, we have a shot at winning the championship. I told the guys that if they want to be successful they’ve got to win the away games.”
Ramage and his players know the task they will face tonight will be a big one. They also know that if they play the way that they are capable of playing they can be successful.
“Last year (at Franklin County) we missed 32 lay-ups and lost by 14 points,” Ramage noted.
“If we make our lay-ups, defend and box out on the boards we can play with anybody. We believe that. That’s what we’ve been telling the guys all year.”
The Comets enter tonight’s game fresh off of a 15-point win over Gretna High School in a non-district contest. That win was a big one for the Comets as it put the Comets over the number of wins the team had last year.
“Last year we had nine (wins) and in my first year here we had 13, so we knew we had to get better,” Ramage said.
“Our magic number is 17 wins for the regular season. We’re going to do the best we can to get there.”
While the Comets had something to celebrate Tuesday night in notching their tenth win of the season, the win itself was not very impressive.
Stymied somewhat by Gretna’s version of a trapping defense, the Comets turned the ball over 32 times. They also missed a handful of lay-ups.
“We played to their (Gretna’s) level,” Ramage pointed out after the game.
“Our kids were not focused. They (Gretna) threw a little three-quarter-court trap on us and we just threw the ball away. We won’t beat anybody this way.
“I know they (the players) are not happy with themselves,” Ramage added.
“I’m not happy and the (coaching) staff is not happy with our performance. We’ve got to stop playing to the level of the competition.”
Deshon Dabbs led the Comets in the scoring column with 20 points. He also snared five rebounds and had four steals. Robert Jackson chipped in 12 points, reeled in three rebounds, had one steal and logged four assists. Keon Gutrich was next in line with a season-high nine points.
The Comets used a 10-2 run in the last three minutes of the first quarter to stake themselves to an 18-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. However, the momentum swung in the second quarter.
Frustrated by Gretna’s pressure defense, the Comets went the first five and a half minutes of the second quarter without scoring, allowing Gretna to close to within five points at 18-13.
Gretna cut the Comets’ lead to two points on a basket by Anthony Reynolds with 53 seconds left in the first half. That was as close Gretna would get.
Two free throws by Jackson and a three-point shot by Dabbs at the buzzer gave the Comets a 25-21 lead at halftime.
The Comets gradually pulled away in the third quarter, using an 8-0 run midway through the quarter to take a 38-24 lead on a basket by Gutrich with 3:34 left in the quarter.
Leading by nine points at 42-33 to start the fourth quarter, the Comets appeared to be in pretty good shape. Gretna closed to within six points with just over three and a half minutes left but the Comets pulled away down the stretch with the help of an 8-0 run that produced a 56-42 lead with 1:07 left.
Dabbs put the final mark on the game for the Comets with a dunk with 35 seconds left in the game that put the Comets up 62-44.
A technical foul called on Dabbs for allegedly hanging onto the rim allowed Gretna to score three more points to account for the final tally.