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Miscues costly as Comets fall to William Fleming 51-40

ROANOKE It was another verse of the same story. 

Turnovers proved costly down the stretch as Halifax County High School dropped its second straight Western Valley District game in a 51-40 loss to William Fleming High School Friday night in Roanoke.

Trailing 41-30 at the end of the third quarter, the Comets rallied with a pair of baskets from Dakota Delaware and a bucket from Keyshawn Johnson to cut the Colonels' lead to five points at 41-36 with six minutes left in the game.

Halifax County kept the game close, trailing by seven points with just under three and a half minutes remaining in the game. After that, the Comets' bid unraveled.

The Comets came up empty in their last five possessions, starting when Johnson failed to convert a layup off of a steal that could have cut the William Fleming High School lead back to five points.

A turnover on the Comets' next possession thwarted another attempt to cut the Colonels' lead back to five points. And, while William Fleming scored only four points in the final 1:34 of the game, the Comets were unable to get the job done down the stretch.

"We had some strange things happen," remarked Comets Head Coach Larry Epperly following the loss.

"We missed layups, couldn't make a "three," just couldn't make a play when we needed it."

The turnover bug that has bitten the Comets often this season reared its ugly head in this game as well. Halifax County High School victimized itself with 27 turnovers in the contest.

"Passing and catching was an issue," Epperly pointed out.

"We fumbled the ball out of bounds, we just had a real hard time passing and catching."

A solid defensive effort kept the Comets in the game. William Fleming led 12-9 at the end of the first quarter, but the Comets put together a 5-0 run triggered by a three-point shot by T.J. Brooks to take a 14-12 lead.

After Delaware gave the Comets the lead for the second time in the game at 16-14, the Colonels countered with a 9-0 run that gave them a 23-16 lead with 1:23 left in the first half. Halifax County never led again.

"We held them to a low enough score to win," Epperly said.

"There was always something that kept us from getting over the hump."

Delaware was the only Comets player to reach double figures in the scoring column as he tallied 10 points, six of which he scored in the first half. Brooks followed with seven points and Johnson, Tavion Petty and James Burden each chipped in six points.