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Late Run Nets Win For Lady Comets

A 15-6 run over the last four minutes of the game helped net the Comets varsity girls’ basketball team a 66-55 win over Franklin County Friday at Comets Gym.

The key Western Valley District triumph, over an Eagles’ team that rang up 98 points against GW earlier in the week and 92 against Martinsville earlier in the season, gave the Comets a 3-1 record in the district and a 13-3 record overall.

Melyse Brown led Halifax County with a team-high 18 points, including eight points in the fourth quarter, where she was 6-8 from the foul line.  Destiny Betts worked the paint for 14 points, while Whitney McCargo added 13, Nia Brown eight and Tiffany Wilson seven points.

Stephanie Carr added four and Shameika Canada two points for the Comets, who were 14-25 from the charity stripe as a team.

Miranda Smith led Franklin County with a game-high 23 points, including four 3-pointers, while Boreika Burwell had nine and Shea Smith and Desirae Jamison eight points apiece.

Franklin County was only 8-23 from the charity stripe for the game, and that was a statistic both coaches pointed to as a key to the outcome.

That and a more consistent game by the Comets, according to Eagles’ coach Ann Crutchfield.

“Halifax is a very good team and we’ve been telling our kids that all week that they were a better team than they were last year,” Crutchfield explained.

“They’re very well coached and consistency has been our Achilles heel our year long.  We’ll play really well for two or three games, but then we’ll play a game where we all seem to hit a brick wall.

“It’s a combination of the two.  They (Halifax) are a very good team and we’re not consistent right now.  We’re normally a very good free throw shooting team and we didn’t do well from the line.

“I think we had about 14 missed layups, so we just didn’t finish tonight.”

Comets coach Matthew McCargo had said all week his task was figuring out a way to slow down the high-powered Eagles’ attack.

“We had to figure out a way to slow them down, and we figured if we could keep them in the 50’s, we’d have a chance to win,” he said.

Melyse Brown hit three of her team’s first four buckets and McCargo and Nia Brown had two apiece in a back-and-forth first quarter that saw Halifax take a 18-16 lead on a Wilson basket at the buzzer.

The Eagles led 19-18 early in the second quarter but the Comets later countered with two baskets by Betts and a 3-pointer from Carr to make it 26-22, and Halifax led 34-30 at halftime on a late 3-pointer from McCargo and a basket by Melyse Brown.

The Comets held as much as a 43-33 lead in the third quarter and later led 47-38 following consecutive baskets by Betts, but the Eagles got a trey from Miranda Smith to close to within 47-43 with a quarter remaining.

The game was tied at the last time 47-47 early in the fourth quarter following a Jamison steal, but two buckets from McCargo and a follow shot by Betts gave Halifax a six-point lead with less than three minutes remaining.

Franklin County missed several shots down the stretch, and Halifax slowly pulled away after that with Melyse Brown hitting a basket and six of eight foul shots at the line in the last two minutes, Nia Brown a basket and Wilson one of two from the line.

“Shots started to fall for us and we were able to maintain our lead, and usually what hurts us helped us tonight, free throw shooting,” said McCargo.

“It definitely helped us and hurt them, because if they had shot a good percentage from the line, we wouldn’t be celebrating now.”

Halifax played a consistent game for all four quarters against Franklin County, and that was another key, McCargo added.

“The last few times we’ve played Franklin County, we’ve put three or three and a half good quarters together, but not four.  This is the first time we’ve put four good quarters together and that’s how it’s going to have to be in the Western Valley.”

The Comets continues to accomplish the goals they set for themselves at the beginning of the year, none more important than holding serve at home in district games.  

“This was definitely a big win.  The biggest win in my coaching career came last year when we beat William Fleming in Roanoke in the quarterfinals of the Western Valley District Tournament,” noted McCargo.

“This one is right up there.  We’re holding home court advantage, we’re 3-1 in the district, and it’s motivating the girls because they’re starting to believe.”

Halifax has a non-conference game at Comets Gym tonight against Martinsville, with game time at 7:30 p.m.