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Face Person Saturday in final tuneup before Classic
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A TERRIFIC START
SoVaNow.com / January 02, 2014The HCHS varsity boys’ basketball team has enjoyed a terrific start.
Now 8-2, HCHS is one win away from matching the high-water mark of the Larry Epperly era. HCHS finished 9-12 each of Epperly’s two seasons here.
Epperly is really pleased with the work ethic of this team.
“This group of players has worked really hard, especially in our off season workouts. You just don’t show up in November and expect to play well. It takes a lot of off-season preparation in order to play well during the season. When guys work in the off-season, they are telling you that playing well is important to them,” said Epperly.
HCHS also has shown very proficient 3-point shooting in most games. The Comets sank 18 treys in the two-game run to the Holiday Classic title, including 11 in the final against Person.
HCHS had a tremendous edge in 3-point shooting, outscoring Gretna and Person 54-3 from beyond the arc.
Person County had one and Gretna none in the classic.
To be fair, 3-point shooting is not necessarily a strength on any given night in high school, but the ability to consistently connect from beyond the arc can be a tremendous asset.
“We have said from the start that 3-point shooting was a strength of this team. It is certainly a weapon. It opens up driving angles to the basket and really makes us a hard team to defend,” said Epperly.
Epperly is gratified by the turnaround in HCHS basketball. The season is still relatively new, but the Comets appear to be a different team.
“When you build a program, you are not sure when the corner will be turned. It is important to build on a solid foundation. We took some hits early but kept the big picture in mind. We felt that if we kept doing the right things, it would happen. I give the players all the credit for hanging in there and keeping the faith in our program. The future looks really bright for Comet basketball,” he said.
COMET NOTEBOOK: Halifax swamped Gretna, 77-33, in the opener last week.
The Comets outscored Gretna 42-20 in the second half.
“We got off to a very good start against Gretna. We played at a very high level. Seemed like everything we did worked. Sometimes that happens. Our players were very motivated to get to the finals,” said Epperly.
COMET CONSISTENCY: During eight, 8-minute periods in the tournament, the Comets scored at least 17 points in all but one period, and 20 or more in three of them. They dropped below 17 points only once, going for 15 in the third quarter against Gretna. That’s a pretty steady production and scoring pace.
The Comets had 11 players get on the scoreboard in the first game against Gretna and seven in the second game against Person
The Comets had four double figure scorers in the win over Person, (Treyvon Brandon, 14, James Smith Jr. 11, Trelanne Johnson, 10 and James Burden 10) and three in the rout over Gretna (Smith 11, T. Johnson, 11 and Tavion Petty 15).
Petty had 24 points in the two games, including six 3s.
Smith is a freshman and had back-to-back double figure scoring nights with 22 points in his first Classic.
“We have a team concept. We have four players averaging in double figures. We share the ball and the open man usually ends up with a shot. Same way on defense. We understand that we must do it together. I really like the teamwork that goes on out on the court,” said Epperly.
A lot of different parts are working well for HCHS.
“We had major contributions from all our players. Trelanne played great defense, Will rebounded well, Keyshawn set the tempo on offense, James Burden was good in all areas, Tavion made 3’s and we got great support off the bench from James Smith and Treyvon Brandon. We have very good chemistry right now and I think it will only improve. The leadership from Trelanne Johnson and James Burden has been outstanding,” said Epperly.
FOR THE DEFENSE: Gretna really struggled against the Comet defense in the classic opener, scoring five points in the second period, with only one field goal. The Hawks had only five field goals and one free throw in the final period, scoring just 11 points.
BRANDON STEPS UP: Brandon had 14 points in the win over Person.
“This is the first year Treyvon has played organized basketball. He has had a lot to learn. He has worked very hard and as well as he is playing, he can still get better. He has a chance to be a very good player for us,” said Epperly.
HCHS now has a stretch of three straight road games, including a critical test at GW-Danville on Jan. 7.
“We now go on the road for three straight games. We will take them one at a time and see what happens. I like where we are, but there is still a lot of work to do. I want to see up play with more consistency and I would like to see some more production off the bench,” said Epperly.
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