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Halifax County High School picks up second road victory

Martinsville High School standout Paris Jamison dropped 39 points on Halifax County High School when the Bulldogs escaped with a win over the Comets in overtime in the first meeting between the two teams.

Comets Head Coach Larry Epperly wasn’t about to let that happen a second time.

Epperly made some defensive changes Friday night when the Comets faced the Bulldogs in Martinsville and they worked.

Leading most of the way, the Comets defeated the Bulldogs 56-51 to pick up their second road win of the season and improve their record to 3-4 overall.

Interchanging zone defenses and injecting a pressure defense from time to time, the Comets were able to hold Jamison to 17 points and 10 rebounds, with Jamison earning his final rebound with less than a minute remaining in the contest.

“It (the changing of defenses) really kept them (Martinsville) off balance all night,” Epperly pointed out.

“At one time, they were attacking a 2-3 (zone), the next time they were attacking a 1-3-1 (zone) and we pressed them off of free throws.”

“We still let 32 (Jamison) get some offensive rebounds on us on a couple of missed block-outs on the free throw line,” Epperly noted, “but this was better.”

Jamison got some looks at the basket, but found the going much tougher than he did when the Bulldogs faced the Comets the first time on Dec. 5.

“Sometimes I’d catch them when they’d lose me,” Jamison said, “but most of the time they were making sure they were watching me. I’d catch the ball, and they would pack it in on me, so I’d have to kick it back out.”

While using zone defenses to hold Jamison at bay, the Comets put the pressure on Martinsville High School to shoot over the defense. The Bulldogs buried seven three-pointers, but it wasn’t enough.

“I think they (Halifax) played us the correct way tonight,” Martinsville coach Jeff Adkins said after the loss that dropped the Bulldogs’ record to 2-5 on the season.

“They’re a well-coached team. They do a very good job.”

The Comets were able to score from the perimeter as well, sinking six three-pointers in the contest. Keyshawn Johnson hit the first one 27 seconds into the game and James Burden scored inside to give the Comets a 5-0 lead in the first minute and nine seconds.

From there, the Comets raced to a 20-9 lead at the end of the first quarter, using a three-pointer from Tavion Petty, who went on to lead the Comets with 16 points and a basket from Kory Lennon on an offensive rebound to in the final 49 seconds to stake the 11-point edge.

The Comets led 24-13 after the first three minutes of the second quarter, but Martinsville came on to take advantage of five Comets turnovers to produce a 13-2 run to draw to within two points at 26-24 with 2:04 left in the first half.

Halifax County got back on track with a 9-1 run in the last 1:41 of the second quarter that was capped by a three-pointer by Petty at the buzzer to take a 33-25 lead at halftime.

The Comets maintained their edge in the third quarter, using a 7-0 run early in the period to build a 42-28 lead. Halifax County led by 11 at the end of the third quarter.

Martinsville tried to make a run at the Comets in the fourth quarter, hitting four three-pointers, but it wasn’t enough. The Comets held their own, giving up only one turnover in the final eight minutes, and Trelanne Johnson went 3-4 at the charity stripe in the final minute to help the Comets seal the win.

“We did some good things,” Epperly said.

“Our ball movement at times was really good. We had some possessions in which we moved the ball and got a wide-open shot. I thought our toughness was a little better at times tonight.

“I still see a lot more there,” Epperly added.

“We came up here to get a win and that’s good, but we’ve still got things that we’ve got to get better at if we’re going to be a good team.”