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Comets boys fall to Park View 75-62 in Holiday Classic title game

Halifax County High School's four-game win streak has come to an end.

The Comets dug a huge hole for themselves in Friday night's game against Park View High School of South Hill in the championship game of the Halifax County High School Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament and couldn't save themselves.

Down by 21 points at halftime, the Comets rallied to cut their deficit to seven points with four minutes left in the game, but got no closer as they fell to Park View 75-62.

Friday night's loss marked the third year in a row Halifax County High School has finished as the tournament runner-up. With the win, Park View High School captured its first ever HCHS Holiday Classic championship.

"You get what you deserve and we deserved what we got," Comets Head Coach Larry Epperly said after the loss that dropped the Comets' record to 6-5 on the season.

"We didn't play very smart. We didn't make the toughness plays."

The Comets got off to bad start, victimizing themselves with 17 turnovers in the first half and scoring only nine points in the first quarter. They fell behind 6-0 in just over a minute of action as Park View High School tandem James Brown and Kaleb Johnson each scored seven points to lead the Dragons to a 20-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Park View opened the second quarter with a 5-0 run to put the Comets behind 25-9 with just under six minutes left in the first half. The Comets cut the lead to nine points with 4:21 left in the half only to see the Dragons mount a 14-2 run down the stretch to take a 40-19 lead at halftime.

Switching defenses from its man-to-man scheme to various forms of zone defenses, the Comets created some chaos for the Dragons in the third quarter. Starting with a free throw from Kevon Tucker with 4:09 left in the third quarter, the Comets went on a 13-0 run capped by a layup from Keyshawn Johnson off of a steal with 50 seconds left in the period to cut their deficit to seven points at 46-39.

The Comets' Tavion Petty missed a layup after a steal with 30 seconds left on the clock that could have cut the Park View lead to five points. A quick layup by the Dragons' Travon Previtire with 26 seconds left broke the Comets' run.

The Comets trailed by eight points when Trelanne Johnson was called for a foul with 1.9 seconds left in the quarter, and his reaction to the call netted him a technical foul from game officials. Park View's Dionte Williams made the two free throws for the personal foul and teammate Kaleb Johnson sank two free throws for the technical foul to put Park View up 52-40 at the end of the quarter.

Halifax County rallied yet again, cutting the Park View lead to seven points at 60-53 after Keyshawn Johnson converted a three-point play and Tucker hit a layup with 4:01 left in the game.

Two layups from Kaleb Johnson, the first coming after a steal, and a turnover by the Comets ended the Comets' late run and gave Park View a 66-55 lead. From there, the Dragons held on to secure the 13-point win.

"This game was a product of last night (Thursday night's game against Bluestone High School)," Epperly noted.

"We messed around and didn't execute, didn't get loose balls and rebounds, and it carried right over to tonight. Park View out-hustled us, got loose balls and killed us on the backboards. If you're going to be a good team you've got to make toughness plays, not turn the ball over, and we were guilty of all of those things. That doesn't lead to winning basketball."

The Comets had four players to reach double figures in the scoring column. Trelanne Johnson led the team with 16 points. Dakota Delaware came off of the bench to score 14 points, 10 of them coming in the second half.

Keyshawn Johnson finished the game with 12 points and Tucker chipped in 10 points.

Kaleb Johnson led Park View High School with a game-high 29 points. DaGarrius Smith  followed with 10 points.

The Comets logged 26 turnovers in the game, as compared to 21 for the Dragons. Halifax County was 2-16 from three-point range, while Park View hit three of a dozen attempts from beyond the arc.