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Lucas named new HCHS girls basketball coach

William “Billy” Lucas has spent the past four years as the head junior varsity girls basketball coach at Halifax County High School.

Now he will take the big stage.

Lucas, who has coached multiple sports at Halifax County High School, was named Friday as the new head coach of the Comets varsity girls basketball team, replacing Matthew McCargo who resigned from the post this past spring.

“I’m overjoyed to get this position and be able to work with the varsity girls basketball program,” Lucas said.

“It has been an aspiration of mine to be a varsity basketball coach.”

This marks the second time in his teaching and coaching career that Lucas has served as a head varsity coach. He previously served as head varsity boys basketball coach at Jefferson Christian Academy, a small private school located in Giles County.

Lucas has previously coached baseball and is the head coach of the Comets ninth-grade football team. He also has coached baseball and football at Blacksburg High School and at Radford High School.

Lucas takes over the program from Matthew McCargo, who resigned from the position in early August. McCargo went 56-34 during his four years at the helm, winning one Western Valley District title, tying for another title.

McCargo led the Comets into the Northwest Region Tournament during the 2010-2011 season when the Comets were 20-0 for the regular season and finished 20-2 overall.

Last year’s Comets team finished 6-15 overall and failed to qualify to play in the Western Valley District Tournament.

This season, Lucas said, will be something of a rebuilding year.

“I say that because we will have to implement a new system and new ideas,” he explained.

“We have a lot of good young players coming up through the system right now, and it looks very good to me in the long term.”

The new Comets head coach says he expects a smooth transition.

“There will be a transition as far as implementing new things offensively and defensively and just getting the girls to understand the different style of basketball at times,” Lucas said.

“The girls are very hard-working girls, and their work ethic will make the transition a lot smoother.”

With Virginia High School League rules allowing off-season workouts and Halifax County High School not officially having a head coach in place since August, the assumption would be that the Comets are behind the eight-ball in terms of preparation for the upcoming season.

Lucas, however, has been holding some off-season workouts with potential junior varsity and varsity team members throughout the fall. He said he has averaged 15 girls attending open gym sessions, with more than 20 players being there at times.

“I feel that is pretty good participation for off-season workouts,” Lucas said.

“We’re not as far behind as what many people would think. The girls have been coming in, working real hard and doing the things they need to do to get ready for the season. Their attitude and hard work is going to help us overcome being a little behind. They’re very fast learners when it comes to reviewing and going over things.”

Lucas said one thing will not change from McCargo’s approach of the past few seasons – a focus on fundamentals and defense.

“As far as working on fundamentals and focusing on defense and things like that, things will be pretty much the same,” Lucas pointed out.

“The style of play will probably be a little different.”

The new Comets coach said he not made a decision with regard to the style of offense and defense he plans to utilize this season.

“I’m still looking at it, feeling everything out,” Lucas explained.

“We’re going to make our offense and defense fit the players. I’m not going to try to fit the players around a system. I’m going make the system fit the players.”

With Lucas having been moved to head up the varsity program, Halifax County High School officials now must get a new head junior varsity girls basketball coach in place.

“We’ve got some possibilities,” said Halifax County High School Athletic Director Allen Lawter.

“I will work with Coach Lucas next week, and we will discuss getting a (coaching) staff together.”