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Boys get into title mode

With two-time defending Halifax County High School Holiday Classic Tournament champion Person (N.C.) High School not in the field, there will be a new champion in the two-day tournament which opens Thursday.

 

Halifax County High School is hoping it can return to the top after two years of finishing as the runner-up.

“We’ll treat it as something that is important, and something we definitely want to win,” Comets Head Coach Larry Epperly said following his team’s practice Wednesday night.

“If you can win on your home floor, it’s always important.”

The field for next week’s tournament has a different look from that of the past several seasons. Roxboro (N.C.) Community, a charter school in the Roxboro, N.C. area, Park View High School of South Hill and Bluestone High School of nearby Skipwith will join the Comets in the 19th annual edition of the tournament which will be played Thursday and Friday.

“I don’t know a lot about the teams,” Epperly noted.

“Last year we had already played Person (N.C.) High School, so we knew something about them. I don’t know a lot about the teams at this point. But, it’s two home games. There is no school, and there shouldn’t be any distractions. It will be a chance for us to get better and get ready for district play.”

While Epperly would like nothing better than to see his team win the Holiday Classic title, he is looking at the big picture.

In one aspect, the tournament is an opportunity for Epperly to give his team some experience at playing back-to-back nights, something the Comets could encounter when it comes to post-season playoffs.

The Comets will get a good taste of that experience. Last night the Comets traveled to Lynchburg to face E.C. Glass High School. Tonight they host Magna Vista High School, giving them back-to-back games this week. Next week it’s back-to-back nights in the Holiday Classic tournament.

“We like it because if you’re lucky enough to get to the post-season tournament it gives you an idea of how you have to play back-to-back,” Epperly pointed out.

“In fact, we have two back-to-back scenarios, playing Thursday (last night) and Friday (tonight) and coming back to play Thursday and Friday in the holiday tournament. It’s good tournament experience to have to play back-to-back.”

Another important aspect for Epperly is that the Holiday Classic is his last opportunity to get the Comets tuned up for Western Valley District play. The Comets will jump into Western Valley District play when they host GW on Wednesday, Jan. 2.

“For us, it (the Holiday Classic tournament) is huge because we’re trying to get ready for district play, and it’s our last two games before we do that,” Epperly remarked.

“We really need to play well in the tournament. We need to shore some things up and get our (player) rotations right. We want to play well and we want our fans to see us play well. Every time you have a chance to play you need to do the best you can because it will lead to something else.”