- Last Updated on 11:40 PM 12/11/12
- BY Joe Chandler
There is no such thing as a good loss in the mind of Halifax County High School Head Basketball Coach Larry Epperly.
The Comets played Person (N.C.) High School to a much closer game here Tuesday night than they did when the two teams squared off the first time on Nov. 30 in Roxboro, N.C., leading a good deal of the way before finally succumbing 73-63.
"We had a good effort, but it doesn't excuse the mistakes we made," Epperly said in the wake of the loss that dropped the Comets' record to 2-4 on the season.
Indeed, it didn't.
The Comets trailed 64-56, but got a free throw from James Burden and two baskets from Dakota Delaware to close to within three points at 64-61 with 2:06 left in the game.
Person (N.C.) High School missed a shot on its ensuing possession and the Comets came down the floor with a chance to either tie the game or pull to within a point. The Comets had a miscue with a turnover, and the Rockets' Marquis Torain sank a pair of free throws on the Rockets' next possession to put his team up by five points.
After the Comets came up empty again, the Rockets answered with a dunk from Tyrone Outlaw with 58 seconds left to take a 68-61 lead. The dunk gave Outlaw a game-high 34 points and put the game out of the Comets' reach.
"We've lost four games, and in three of the four losses we've allowed the other team's best player to beat us," Epperly pointed out.
"If you're going to be a good basketball team, you can't let that happen. It hurt us tonight."
The Comets got off to a solid start, racing to a 21-9 lead on a 9-0 run that included a layup from Tavion Petty, two baskets from Kevon Tucker including a three-pointer and a basket from Evin Morrison off of an offensive rebound.
Halifax County led 23-17 at the end of the first quarter, with Petty draining four baskets and Tucker three, including a pair of three-point baskets. The Rockets managed to tie the game at halftime at 34-34 with a pair of free throws from Outlaw.
The Comets held a 44-43 lead after Delaware sank a shot with 2:49 left in the third quarter, but trailed 48-46 heading into the final period.
A basket from Keyshawn Johnson and a three-point play from Trelanne Johnson in the first 55 seconds of the fourth quarter gave the Comets a 51-48 edge. The Rockets countered with an 8-0 run that started with a three-point shot from Outlaw and concluded with a 10-foot jumper from Logan Coats to take a 60-55 lead with 5:06 left in the game.
From that point on, the Comets were unable to regain the lead.
"We left a lot of opportunities out on the floor," Epperly pointed out.
"We could have won this game. It was a winnable game. We need to win these games. That's the bottom line."
Keyshawn Johnson led the Comets in scoring with 15 points. Petty followed with 12 points and Tucker finished the night with a season-best 10-point effort.
The Rockets (5-1 overall) also had three players in double figures, with Torain following Outlaw with 15 points and Coats chipping in 12 points.