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Blue Comets Take Over Second Place

Deshon Dabbs sat out the first half of Friday’s Western Valley District game against Franklin County High School in Rocky Mount. But, when he hit the floor in the second half, good things happened for Halifax County High School.

Dabbs scored 19 points in the second half, including hitting four straight free throws in the final 35 seconds to help lift the Comets to a 70-66 win in overtime.

“It was hard,” Dabbs said of having to sit out the first half as a result of disciplinary issues.

“I just came in knowing that I was going to help my team win. We wanted this win bad. We knew we could beat this team. It’s my first win here at their house. Hopefully we can beat them at our house.”

Halifax County (11-4 overall, 3-1 district) took over sole possession of second place in the Western Valley District standings with the win, dropping Franklin County High School (10-6 overall, 2-2 district) to third place.

The win was the second overtime win in district play for the Comets, who equaled the number of district wins that Comets teams had garnered in each of the past two seasons.

“This is a great win for our kids,” said Comets head coach Lynn Ramage.

“They didn’t quit. I’m very proud of them. To come here and win is tough. This was a total team effort. It’s fantastic for these kids and it’s good for our community.”

The Comets trailed by 12 points at 40-28 with just over three and a half minutes left in the third quarter, and trailed by six points with just over five minutes left in regulation.

After a timeout by Ramage, Dabbs scored seven unanswered points over a span of just over two minutes to put the Comets up 58-57 with 2:34 left in regulation. Marcus Williams, who had one of his best nights of the season with 12 points, hit a free throw with 1:42 left to put the Comets up 59-57.

The Eagles tied the game, but Williams broke the deadlock by sinking a lay-up off of a backcourt steal with 22.5 seconds left and was fouled in the process. Williams missed the free throw, leaving the Comets with a 61-59 edge.

Franklin County’s Daniel Hutson, who finished his night with 13 points, sent the game into overtime, sinking a highly contested jump shot from the corner with 5.6 seconds left.

The Comets got the ball back and Williams got a good look for a potential game-winning shot that missed, forcing the game to go into a four-minute overtime period.

Halifax County got the first lead in overtime with a free throw from Deshaun Clark. Franklin County missed an opportunity to regain the lead when Andre Washington missed a pair of free throws.

Halifax County reeled off four unanswered points to take a 66-61 lead with 53.9 seconds left. After the Eagles’ Chris Tyree hit a lay-up with 46.2 seconds left, Dabbs sank four straight free throw to give the Comets a 70-63 lead with 17.4 seconds left to play.

Franklin County got a basket from Tyree and a free throw from Hutson in the final 11 seconds, but it wasn’t enough as the Comets prevailed 70-66.

Along with making timely plays, the Comets’ pressure defense did its job, especially during the fourth quarter and the overtime period.

Franklin County had 24 turnovers in the game, most of them in the second half. The Eagles also had a tough night at the free throw line, hitting six of 16 attempts.

Halifax County was 21-33 at the charity stripe.

“We didn’t deserve to win the basketball game because we didn’t play the kind of basketball we’re capable of playing,” said Franklin County coach Doug Conklin.

“If we had done the little things, we would have won the game.

“This was a big game,” added Conklin.

“It was second place. This is the first time Halifax has beaten us here in a long time.”

The Comets got off to a good start, but Franklin County rallied to take a seven-point lead in the first quarter, which ended with the Eagles leading 15-12.
Williams tied the game for the Comets just prior to the midway point of the second quarter and deadlocked the game again with a basket with just under three minutes left in the first half.

Franklin County got back on top, though, and led 28-26 at halftime.

An 8-0 run by the Eagles in the first two minutes of the third quarter put the Comets down 36-26. The Comets eventually fell behind by as many as 12 points before rallying to take the win.