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Lady Comets absorb heartbreaking loss to PH

The Halifax County High School varsity girls basketball team let a golden opportunity for a Western Valley District win slip away in the second half in a 48-45 home loss to Patrick Henry High School on Tuesday.

Halifax County (0-3 WVD, 7-7) built a 12-0 lead early in the first quarter and led 18-8 entering the second period, only to see the Patriots cut that advantage to 25-18 at halftime.

A 22-9 run in the third quarter, fueled by two 3-pointers from Jewel Parfitt and one each from Cienna Bryant and Emily Whitaker helped give the Patriots a 40-34 lead with a quarter remaining.

Patrick Henry led 44-35 with five minutes remaining before a 9-0 run by the Comets, capped by a steal and bucket by Brittani Boxley tied the score at 45-45 with less than 45 seconds remaining.

Breona Millner rebounded a missed shot and scored the go-ahead basket for Patrick Henry with less than 20 seconds remaining, and Parfitt hit one of two foul shots for a 3-point margin seconds after a Comets’ miss.

A last-second drive by Janiyah Logan fell short, and Patrick Henry (1-1 WVD, 6-8) held on for the win.

Just as it did in last year’s game at Comets Gym between the two teams, the 3-point shot played a key role, with Patrick Henry connecting on eight 3-pointers, four in each half.

Halifax County hit five 3-pointers, two each from Alexia Tucker and Che’Lese Bowman, and one from Sheraine Claughton, but none in the second half when the Patriots rallied.

Tucker scored a team-high 15 points for the Comets, while Bowman and Janiyah Logan each scored eight, Sheraine Claughton five, Boxley four, Ashley Hill three and Lakia Martin two.

Parfitt scored a game-high 19 points for Patrick Henry, while Cienna Bryant added 15 points, including three 3-pointers.

The game simply came down to which team shot the ball better, Patriots Coach Toree Dunleavy and Comets Coach Billy Lucas agreed.

“The key for us in the second half was making shots,” said Dunleavy.

“I thought Halifax shot the ball very well in the first half, and actually the second “3” we hit banked in, so it was kind of a prayer.

“We were able to hang around and stay pretty close in the first half, and in the second half we hit some shots and got some momentum going.”

Dunleavy liked her team’s defensive effort in the second half.

“I thought our defense was pretty good, especially Desiree Kasey on No. 12 (Tucker).

“She’s their best player, and she’s so athletic, but I thought Desiree really stepped up for us and played man-to-man on her and didn’t let her touch the ball.”

“It was definitely a big win,” added Dunleavy.  “Every game in our district is tough, so we’re lucky to get one.”

“We came out and were able to knock down a lot of shots early on, and in the third quarter the roles were reversed,” said Lucas.

“It’s almost like a tale of two halves.

“The first half we played great and knocked down our shots, and the second half they knocked down their shots.”

Lucas was aware of Patrick Henry’s tendency to shoot the ball effectively from behind the arc.

“They’re one of those teams that live or die by the “3”, when you hit them it’s great but when you don’t it’s going to be a rough night for you,” Lucas explained.

“They were able to hit 3’s to cut into our lead and hit 3’s to get the lead.

“The changes they made on the offensive end were the reason they were able to get the points they did in the second half.”

Once his team adjusted, they got right back into the game but couldn’t hit the key basket to get the lead back in the closing seconds, according to Lucas.

“Whenever we did get shots we just didn’t convert.”