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Late Comets rally falls short in 48-45 loss to GW

BASSETT Halifax County High School's bid for the Piedmont District Tournament title was derailed Tuesday night as the Comets fell to arch-rival GW-Danville 48-45 at Bassett High School in a district tournament semi-final game.

With the loss, the Comets, who have 17 wins on the season, now have a few days to prepare for the start of the Conference 16 tournament, which begins on Tuesday. Halifax County High School has the top seed for the Conference 16 Tournament and will have a home game in Tuesday's conference tournament opener.

"We just did not make the plays you have to make in a game like that," said Comets Head Coach Larry Epperly.

"I'm concerned about our decision-making. We need to make better decisions. We've been in position to win games like this but we have not been able to close them out because of poor decision making."

The Comets rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit with an 8-0 run in the first three minutes of the second half aided by five points from Trelanne Johnson that brought the Comets to within two points at 31-29.

GW opened its margin back up to five points, but the Comets got two free throws from James Burden and a three-point play from James Smith Jr in the final 48.9 seconds of the quarter to pull to within a point at 35-34 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Comets tied the game for the first time since losing the lead midway through the first quarter with a 3-pointer from Tavion Petty with 7:15 left in the game.

Halifax County High School tied the game twice more, the second time coming on a layup from Keyshawn Johnson with four minutes remaining. He followed with a layup off of a steal 12 seconds later to put the Comets up 45-43 with 3:48 left in the game.

GW's Kawante Cobbs answered with a 3-point shot to allow GW to regain the lead. Halifax County High School had opportunities to win the game down the stretch but couldn't capitalize.

With just under two minutes left, Petty missed a 10-foot jump shot. The Comets scrambled to recover the rebound but Smith missed an off-balance five-footer, opening the door for GW to get the ball back with a 46-45 lead.

GW turned the ball over with 17.8 seconds left, giving the Comets another scoring opportunity. But, the Comets were unable to take advantage of that opportunity as GW's Xavier Crews blocked an attempted shot by Trelanne Johnson with 8.8 seconds left. The Comets were forced to commit two fouls in an attempt to get the ball back and GW's Malik Turner hit two free throws with three seconds left to put GW up 48-45.

Keyshawn Johnson attempted a potential game-tying flying 20-foot shot at the final buzzer but the shot missed its mark, leaving the Comets with a three-point loss.

The Comets struggled with rebounding in the first half as GW capitalized on several second-chance shots. GW led 17-12 at the end of the first quarter and led by as many as 12 points before Treyvon Brandon hit a 3-pointer for the Comets on the final play of the half to knock the Comets' deficit down to nine points.

Three Comets players reached double figures in scoring, with Petty leading the way with 13 points. Keyshawn Johnson chipped in a dozen points and Trelanne Johnson added 10 points.