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Comets use long ball to overcome Magna Vista

Halifax County High School went back to the long ball in Friday night's Piedmont District game against Magna Vista High School.

That and a stifling pressure defense that led to a host of transition baskets were too much for the Warriors to overcome. 

Canning nine 3-pointers and supplementing the scoring with easy transition baskets, the Comets rolled up a 79-55 win at Halifax County High School.

Tavion Petty, who led the Comets with a game-high 25 points, tossed in five 3-pointers, including two in the third quarter in which he and teammate Keyshawn Johnson spurred the Comets on a 23-3 run through the first 5:16 of the second half to produce a 56-25 lead that put the game out of the Warriors' reach.

"We just got it going playing good defense and getting out on the (fast) breaks," Petty said of the decisive run.

"They (Magna Vista High School) closed out kind of slow, and that put it all on the guards. Keyshawn and James Smith attacked the gaps and I got open."

It was a good night for Petty who had to fight through special defenses in two of the Comets' last three games in order to produce double figures in the scoring column.

"The last couple of games I haven't been able to hit too much," Petty pointed out.

"I'm trying to get back into my rhythm."

James Smith Jr connected for two 3-pointers including a buzzer-beater at the end of the second quarter to cap an 11-2 Comets run that produced a 33-22 halftime lead. Smith scored 11 of his 17 points for the night in the second quarter.

Keyshawn Johnson hit back-to-back 3-pointers to kick off the Comets' big second-half run and propel the Comets to a 39-22 lead after the first 2:09 of the second half.

"They (Magna Vista) left me so wide open and my players did a good job of finding me," Johnson said.

"I was able to knock them down."

Then there was Trelanne Johnson. He scored seven of his 13 points in the game in the third quarter, all off of easy fast-break transition baskets. He was also a perfect 7-7 at the charity stripe.

"I'm the energy of the team," Johnson pointed out.

"That's what I do. I play defense, rebound a lot and look for the open man. When I can penetrate the gaps, we can get our shooters open."

Magna Vista High School led only once in the game, that coming on a free throw by Shy McGuire with 5:07 left in the first quarter. Petty trumped it with his first 3-point basket of the game, and the Comets never relinquished the lead after that.

Comets Head Coach Larry Epperly was pleased with his team's effort in securing its second Piedmont District win of the week.

"We just competed so hard," Epperly said.

"The guys are really competing and playing hard. We were able to get some steals and convert them into easy baskets. It really helps when you can get easy baskets. We were able to go through their press and hit some easy baskets.

"It covers up mistakes when you play so hard," added Epperly.

"That's what we're doing."

 Magna Vista High School had three players to reach double figures in scoring, with McGuire leading the Warriors with 14 points. Corey Kellam followed with 13 points and Travean Redd chipped in 13 points.

The Comets will be back in action Saturday afternoon, facing Roxboro (N.C.) Community School at Halifax County High School. Junior varsity action starts at 2 p.m with the varsity game set for a 3:30 p.m start.