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Blue-White game shows Comets’ need far more work

With only one full week of practice under its belt, nobody should have expected an academy-award-type performance from the Halifax County High School varsity boys basketball team in Friday night’s Blue-White intersquad game at Halifax County High School.

That’s a good thing, because the Comets didn’t deliver one.

The Comets’ White team staved off a late run by the Blue team to win 52-45 in front of a small but enthusiastic crowd in the fund-raising event for the Comets basketball program.

Those numbers, noted Comets Head Coach Larry Epperly, weren’t the kinds of numbers he wanted to see.

“We’re too slow,” Epperly pointed out in looking at the final numbers on the scoreboard.

“I’d like to play faster. We didn’t push the ball hard at all. We didn’t get to our spots. We didn’t execute the way we want to.

“It’s a conditioning thing,” added Epperly.

“I guess that’s going to be a work in progress.”

The Comets did not shoot well, hence the low numbers, and the execution wasn’t up to par on a lot of occasions.

“We didn’t shoot the ball very well,” Epperly pointed out.

“A lot of the kids didn’t shoot a high percentage. We also didn’t execute very well. We missed a lot of screens. We set some ball screens and the guy that rolled (off of the screen) was open and the ball handler didn’t see him. The execution wasn’t as good as you’d like.”

On the good side, Epperly felt the team competed pretty hard.

“All in all, it wasn’t bad,” Epperly said of the night’s exercise.

“We got a lot out of it. We did some nice things. We defended well at times. Everybody got to play. We got a chance to evaluate a lot of people. It’s good to get out there and go up and down the court in a game setting. Practice is not really that way. Until you get out there you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

The Blue team, comprised mainly of the players projected as possible pre-season starters, had sophomores Keyshawn Johnson and Tavion Petty, juniors Trelanne Johnson and James Burden and senior Evin Morrison as the starting five.

That squad led much of the first half, only to see the White team make a surge late in the second quarter to take a 29-22 halftime lead and take control of the game.

The Blue team closed to within two points with three minutes left in the game and was within four points with 30 seconds left, but couldn’t get over the hump at the end.

“There just wasn’t anybody on the Blue team that had a good shooting night,” Epperly pointed out.

“We’ve got to put the ball in basket.”

Epperly said the White team did some good things in the game.

“We had some individuals on the White team that played well in spurts,” Epperly noted.

“At the end, Dakota (Delaware) played well. Tevin (Edmunds) played well in the middle of the game and Kevon (Tucker) was solid. Those three guys gave the White team a lot of stability.

“The Blue team couldn’t get stops when they needed them,” Epperly added.

“Kory Lennon (White team) made some big baskets off of rebounds. James (Burden)  got caught behind him on two straight possessions, and Kory just overpowered him.” 

Epperly said he was pleased to see some of the players on the White team step up to challenge the players on the Blue team.

“The Blue team has pretty much been our starting team in the pre-season,” Epperly explained, “but there were some guys on the white team like Dakota Delaware, Tevin Edmunds Kevon Tucker that are pushing them. All three of them could be starters at some point. If not, they’re certainly going to play a lot. If you take the first five ‘blues’ and add those three, that would probably be the top eight in our rotation.”

The Comets got in a practice session Saturday morning and will have another today before heading to Dan River High School Tuesday night for a pre-season scrimmage. Epperly said he will use Tuesday’s scrimmage and one the team will have late next week in Richmond to both teach and determine his player rotation for the early-season games, the first of which comes on Tuesday, Nov. 27.

“We have some things to work on – no question about it,” Epperly noted.

“As we inch toward our opener on Nov. 27, we will play fewer and fewer people. Tonight everybody got to play. I don’t know if it will be like that from now on. We’re going to go with a rotation.”


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