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Comets get down to business

Halifax County High School Head Varsity Boys Basketball Coach Larry Epperly believes in getting down to business quickly.

Epperly said yesterday that unless something unforeseen happens he and his coaching staff should have the roster for this season’s Comets basketball team finalized today.

“We may possibly go as high as 13 or 14 players, but no more than that,” Epperly said.

“Twelve (players) is the target.”

Twenty-nine players showed up for Monday’s opening day of varsity basketball tryouts and practice. Six of the 29 players attending the opening day of tryouts were players that were on last year’s squad that finished 9-14 after going 8-12 overall and 3-5 in Western Valley District play during the regular season.

That group includes seniors Dakota Delaware, T.J. Brooks, Evin Morrison and Ikeem Woody. The other two returnees, Tavion Petty and Trelanne Johnson, are underclassmen.

Several of the other plays that were on hand opening day were players from last year’s junior varsity team.

“We don’t have a lot of carryover,” Epperly said.

“Only two of the six players from last year that came out played significant minutes.”

With the small handful of returning players on board, there is a lot of work to be done in a short period of time.

“You’d like to be a little better off in your second year, but this where we are,” said Epperly, who is starting his second season at the helm of the Comets basketball program.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got to get down to business Wednesday, putting in a lot of things. We plan to start teaching Wednesday.”

On the outside, it would appear difficult to make final cuts after the second day of tryouts with 29 players on the floor. However, with Virginia High School League rules allowing off-season workouts and conditioning, coaches have a head start on the selection process.

“We know a lot more about the kids now than we have in the past,” Epperly pointed out.

“Having held open gym and workouts through this past spring, summer and this fall, we have a much better feel for the kids interested in being part of the program and what they can do and what their ability level is.”

Epperly said Monday’s opening round of tryouts went well.

“It was a good turnout,” Epperly said of the 29 players.

“Everybody worked hard. The level of conditioning was better than I thought it would be.”

Making cuts, Epperly said, is the toughest part of the opening of basketball season.

“You have to make tough decisions when you make cuts,” Epperly pointed out.

“That’s the worst part of the job, by far. We don’t have a lot of time. It’s difficult to run drills smoothly and have a smooth practice with large numbers (of players). You have to get the number down.”

The clock is ticking away quickly for Epperly and the Comets. 

This year’s edition of the Comets basketball team will make its debut on Friday, Nov. 16, when the Comets varsity and junior varsity teams take the floor for a Blue-White game. 

That game is a fund-raising event for the Comets basketball program. Admission will be $2 per person, with the night including a Blue-White jayvee game at 6 p.m. followed by the varsity game at 7 p.m.

After that, the Comets will go on the road for a pair of pre-season scrimmage games. The Comets will begin regular-season play Tuesday, Nov. 27 when they host E.C. Glass High School at 7:30 p.m. here at Comets gym.