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Comets rally to defeat Heritage 72-66

Heritage High School did what it could to take Halifax County High School sharpshooter Tavion Petty out of the Comets' scoring quotient, and did a good job of it.

That required another Comets player or two to step up - and Trelanne Johnson and Keyshawn Johnson took that step.

Trelanne Johnson scored 13 of his game total 19 points in the fourth quarter and he and Keyshawn Johnson combined for 20 of the Comets' 25 fourth quarter points to lift the Comets to a 72-66 win over the Pioneers Wednesday night at Halifax County High School.

"I'm a leader on the team this year and when our players are struggling, I've got to pick up the slack and help get us on the road to victory," Trelanne Johnson remarked.

"I worked hard for all of it. We've got a short team this year. I've got to play at power forward and Coach expects me to get rebounds, so I just go get them."

Trelanne Johnson reeled in a handful of rebounds in the game, including a big one when teammate James Burden missed the second of two free throw attempts with 2:06 left in the game and the Comets clinging to a three-point 62-59 lead.

He made the stickback to put the Comets up by five points. Heritage failed to score on its next two possessions and Keyshawn Johnson, who finished his night with 16 points, hit a layup and Trelanne Johnson scored off of an offensive rebound to give the Comets a nine-point 68-59 lead with 1:22 left to effectively seal the win.

While the Johnsons we're taking care of matters on their end, Petty, who had scored 33 points against Person (N.C.) High School in the Comets' win on Tuesday night, quietly scored a team-high 20 points despite being subjected to a box-and-one defense from the Pioneers.

"They (Heritage High School) were certainly aware of the game Tavion had Tuesday night," noted Comets Head Coach Larry Epperly.

"They played a box-and-one on him the whole first half. We knew it was coming, and we had worked on what we wanted to do against it, and it required some other guys to step up and make some shots. For the most part we did it."

Five different players took turns at hitting the three-point shot. Petty and Keyshawn Johnson both hit a pair of threes, Treyvon Brandon, James Smith Jr. and Trelanne Johnson hit one each as the Comets hit seven of 21 three-point shot attempts.

The game started with the Pioneers keeping the game at a slow tempo. Halifax County led 14-10 at the end of the first quarter, led by six after Petty nailed a three-pointer with 5:21 left in the half, but had to scramble to deadlock the game at 27-27 at halftime after the Pioneers we t on a 12-0 run to take the lead at 25-23 with 1:58 left in the half.

Halifax County and Heritage swapped the lead seven times in the third quarter that ended with the Comets leading 47-46. The Comets never lost the lead in the fourth quarter, but faced a tough battle through the final eight minutes as Heritage tied the game twice, the last time coming on two free throws from Antonio Sherman with 4:45 left in the game.

"Just like we did Tuesday night, we just hung around and hung around and found a way to win it at the end," Epperly pointed out.

"I've got to credit our guys. They don't panic when things aren't going well, and I think that comes from the guys that have been here for awhile."

Wednesday night's win over Heritage High School was the second victory in as many nights for the Comets, who concluded their opening week of the season undefeated with a 2-0 slate.

"Heritage is a fine ballclub," Epperly said.

"I guess the thing I'm happiest about is we beat two good teams. It's not like we've played weak competition. We came out of the gate with two tough ones and got two tough wins. I'm happy for  our kids, I'm happy for our seniors. 

"This is nice, but we have a home Piedmont District game against Martinsville High School on Tuesday," added Epperly.

"That's a whole different ballgame. These games count more and they mean more."