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Comets Fall Short At Martinsville

Several times this season Halifax County High School has been able to pull off a win in battles that have gone down to the closing seconds. It didn’t happen Monday night in Martinsville when the Comets had their rematch against the Bulldogs in a non-district contest.

Felice Martin put the Bulldogs on his shoulders, completing a three-point play after hitting a close shot in the paint with 26.6 seconds left to tie the game. He added another close shot in the paint with 4.5 seconds remaining, a shot that would be the game-winner, to put the Bulldogs up by a point.

The Comets set up a play with 3.1 seconds left, but Deshaun Clark, hit by a Martinsville defender as he attempted to snare a half-court pass from Kejuan Mayo, was unable to control the ball, leaving the Comets with a 64-63 loss.

“We gave it away,” remarked Comets head coach Lynn Ramage after the loss that dropped his team to 11-5 overall for the season.

“We gave them a present. We gave them an early Christmas present for next year.

We did some things down the stretch that we don’t normally do and there were things that we normally do down the stretch that we didn’t do.

“When you’re on the road, you’ve got to do those things,” added Ramage.

“We’ve got to hit baskets and free throws down the stretch, we’ve got to take care of the basketball and have better shot selection. At the end of the game, it came down to the coaching, and I didn’t do a good job helping us get a win tonight.”

While the loss to the Bulldogs was disappointing, no damage was done to the Comets’ big picture, that of making a run for the Western Valley District title.
“We’re going to be okay,” Ramage emphasized.

“This loss does not hurt us. It’s not a district loss. The sign that you have a good team is when the other team celebrates like they have won the national championship when they beat you. That’s where we are now. Teams are happy when they beat us. We’re getting better and better.”

The Comets led by five points with 3:41 left to play after a pair of free throws from Deshon Dabbs, who led the team in scoring with 24 points. But, the Comets then went over two minutes without a score and Martin started taking control of the paint down low.

After Martinsville’s Mike Bleacher tied the game at 59-59 with a pair of free throws, Dabbs converted both ends of a one-and one opportunity at the charity stripe and Teammate Robert Jackson hit one of two free throw attempts to put the Comets up 62-59 with 44 seconds to play.

In a critical mistake, the Comets allowed Scott to score from down low in the paint and compounded it with a foul that would give the Bulldogs a three-point play to tie the game.

Dabbs hit one of two free throw attempts with 14.9 seconds left to put the Comets back on top by a point, but Scott hit a contested shot deep in the paint with 4.5 seconds to score the game- winning points for the Bulldogs.

“We uncharacteristically gave them some open shots,” Ramage pointed out.

“That’s the way the game goes sometimes. Our execution in the last two minutes wasn’t what I would like it to be. But, that’s what practice is all about. We’ll look at the tape, go over some things in practice and we will be fine.”

The game was a close one all the way, with the Comets falling behind by as many as seven points in the first quarter before rallying to take a 17-16 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Halifax County fell behind by seven points in the first three minutes of the second quarter but used a 9-2 run midway through the quarter to get even once again. A three-point shot by Dabbs and two lay-ups by Deshaun Clark were key in the run.

The Comets trailed by six points with 2:08 left in the half, but a free throw from Marcus Williams, a shot by Mayo and two baskets by Dabbs propelled the Comets to a 35-34 lead at halftime.

Using its pressure defense, the Comets got the upper hand in the third quarter, using a three-point shot by Dabbs with 2:45 left in the quarter to take their biggest lead of the game at 48-42.

Martinsville reeled the Comets back in and, with a basket from Scott inside, pulled to within a point at 50-49 at the end of the third quarter.

The Comets finished the game with three players in double figures in the scoring column. Dabbs led the team with 24 points with Mayo chipping in 16 points. Mayo also snared 15 rebounds, blocked five shots and had one steal. Clark finished his night with 10 points.

Halifax County had 25 turnovers in the contest. Martinsville turned the ball over 18 times.