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Comets use defense to crush Bassett 72-31

Sometimes a good defense can be your best offense. Halifax County High School proved that to be true in Saturday night's game against Bassett High School.

Playing in front of home fans, the Comets stifled Bassett early with a 15-2 run in the first six minutes and rolled to an easy 72-31 win in the Piedmont District contest. 

"The starters played well and the bench players played well," noted Comets guard Tavion Petty, who scored eight of his game total 10 points in the first half.

Petty hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter to help spur the Comets' attack, with fellow guard Keyshawn Johnson scoring five of his game total 10 points in the first eight-minute stanza.

"My outside shooting was pretty good," Petty pointed out.

"I hit the first two (shots). I slacked off at the end, but we got the win and that's all that matters."

Trelanne Johnson said the win resulted from a good overall effort.

"We had an excellent effort," he remarked.

"Everybody was playing defense, helping each other on the drive. Everybody was rebounding and scoring. Everybody played like a team."

Comets forward James Burden concurred.

"We had a good effort," Burden said, "and everybody did their part."

The Comets' defensive prowess was noted in the fact that Bassett High School turned the ball over 18 times in the game. Also, the Comets took four defensive charges at the hands of the Bengals.

"That's a sign of being in the right spot on defense," Comets Head Coach Larry Epperly said in reference to the four defense charge calls that went the Comets' way.

"I thought our defense was really good tonight. It did a lot of things for us. We got rebounds and had some steals and they (Bassett High School) had a real hard time finding shots against our defense."

Saturday night's win was a big one for the Comets, who improved their record to 14-5 on the season with three games remaining, all coming this week. The schedule includes games against arch-rival GW (Monday night and Thursday night) and a road game Tuesday night against Patrick County High School in Stuart.

The win allowed the Comets to keep pace with Albemarle High School, the team the Comets are battling with for the top seed in the upcoming Conference 16 tournament. Both teams now have 14 victories.

As it currently stands, it appears the Comets will host one of the two Conference 16 tournament semi-final round games.

"Patrick Henry-Ashland and Orange County High School can't catch us," Epperly said.

"There is still a question as to who will get the top seed because we're tied with wins."

The Comets were never seriously challenged in the game.

Leading 15-6 at the end of the first quarter, the Comets held Bassett High School scoreless for the first five and a half minutes of the second quarter and scored 14 unanswered points to pull away to a 29-6 edge. The run started with a layup from Trelanne Johnson and ended with Kevon Tucker's second basket of the quarter.

A basket from Burden on an offensive rebound capped the first half, which ended with the Comets holding a 34-9 advantage.

With five players scoring, the Comets held a 51-23 lead at the end of the third quarter. Aided by five points each from Treyvon Brandon and James Smith Jr in the fourth quarter, the Comets handily wrapped up the 41-point win.

The game marked one of the Comets' better shooting efforts in recent outings. Halifax County High School hit eight of 19 attempts from 3-point range.

"We were sharp and making shots, " Epperly pointed out.

"Our execution was good, and we played about as well as we can play. We had a lot of good things happen tonight."

Eleven of the 12 Comets players scored in the game, with reserve forward Ramel Hill leading the way with 11 points. Petty and Keyshawn Johnson finished with 10 points each and Smith and Trelanne Johnson each chipped in seven points.