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Girls look to regain momentum

Two girl’s basketball teams seemingly heading in opposite directions collide head on in the Conference 16 tournament semifinals Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Albemarle High School.

Halifax County (9-13), whose last win came Jan. 27 at Tunstall High School, has lost five straight games, including a 73-19 loss at Franklin County High School Feb. 10 in the first round of the Piedmont District Tournament.

Host Albemarle (14-7) has won seven straight games, including a 61-47 win over Charlottesville Feb. 11 in the Jefferson District Tournament semifinals.

Comets Head Coach Wayne Murray has chosen not to dwell on the loss at Franklin County, rather he and his team are focusing on the task ahead.

“I know we’re a better team than what happened (at Franklin County,” said Murray.

“I’m trying to keep the girls loose, so we’ll be confident going into the conference tournament.

“I’m worried about the weather, and what it’ll do to our practice time, but right now I’m trying to build some confidence, because we’re on a downward spiral.”

Franklin County did exactly what the Comets knew they were going to do, and his team prepared for what the Eagles were going to do, Murray added.

“But, we let them execute what they wanted to do, and we didn’t execute what we wanted to do,” Murray explained.

“We let them force us into their game plan, and we don’t play the same style of basketball that they do.

“All 14 of them played, and all 14 played significant minutes.

“I’m just not that deep, but we have to play smarter basketball.”

Murray found himself on the floor Tuesday afternoon working with the team on fundamentals such as boxing out and moving with and without the basketball on offense.

“I was out there on the floor with them,” Murray said.

It’s the little things we’ve been trying to do all year, and we need to focus on these things.”

“There were several times last night (Franklin County) they got three of four offensive rebounds.

“We can’t win with teams getting three of four offensive rebounds.”

Taking care of the basketball is a continuing concern, added Murray.

“I understand turning the basketball over with someone in your face, I can live with that sometimes, but when we throw the ball over someone’s head or just sling the ball from one end of the court to another and not even looking for somebody to catch it, that’s the part that bothers me.”

It comes down to Halifax County playing its game and not allowing Albermarle to force the Comets into playing their game, Murray pointed out.

“We have to play smart, under control and at our tempo, and we have to play hard-nosed defense,” noted Murray.

“We’re not scoring enough points, and if we’re not scoring more than 40 points we can’t let them score more than 40, that’s common sense.

“That means we have to take better care of the basketball, and when we take care of the basketball we’ll be right in the ball game.”

It will take a team effort the entire game to have a chance of winning, Murray pointed out.

“We have to give effort the whole time, and a lot of the girls I have put forth effort the entire game.

“We have to understand if we’re down four points we can come back, so we can just keep playing.

“Sometimes when we get down just a little we start to hang our heads.

“So, we need to get our spirits up and our confidence up, take open shots when they’re there and make some shots.

“If we play our game, we’ll be alright.”