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Comets down Person in OT

South Boston News
Michael Spraggins dunks for two in the Comets’ season opening win over Dan River Wednesday. (David Conner II photo) / December 03, 2018

Halifax County High School varsity boys’ basketball is 2-0 after winning two different kinds of games to start the new season.

The Comets won in overtime, 59-58, at Person County Friday. On Wednesday, Halifax dismissed Dan River, 60-51.

Halifax battled through foul trouble and capitalized on stout late defense over a 10-minute period to win in overtime in Roxboro. The Comets had fallen behind, but rallied and held off the Rockets.

Earlier, the Comets took a commanding lead over the Wildcats, before the visitors made it more competitive at the end. Still, Dan River has a quality win over a program with recent VHSL success.

Dan River won the 2A boys’ basketball crown in 2014.

On Friday, Halifax proved it could win in difficult road conditions with much of the team battling foul trouble.

Coach Sterling Williams, joining his team for an spirited post-game celebration, noted four of his top players fouled out, yet the Comets still found a way to win.

Halifax did not play its best game and had turnover issues, but overcame its mistakes and handled adversity.

Kendall Dixon made some key contributions, but still fouled out. Otis Slayton, MyQuan Williams and Kevon Ferrell also had to sit after fouling out. All of those made key contributions and Williams found a way to overcome adversity in a traditional rivalry game.

“To overcome that, it’s big for these guys. We talk about being resilient. How do we handle adversity? We put the game into overtime, and then to come out with a victory, it’s big for these guys,” said Williams.

Williams also said the Comets are stressing defense, and Halifax also did at least a decent job containing Person’s Cameron Brown in the man-to-man scheme. Tyree Dunkley did a fine job battling possession-by-possession to contain the primary Rocket option.

Brown had 29 points, but only scored four points total in the fourth period and OT.

Michael Spraggins had an strong game on both ends of the floor and led the Comets with 23 points. Tyree Dunkley had 11 and M. Williams scored eight. K. Dixon had six.

Halifax outscored the Rockets 12-6 in the final period and 7-6 in the OT period.

Person, now 2-2, ran into early trouble against the Comets. Halifax led 19-13, although the Rockets’ Brown dialed up a three-pointer to end the first quarter.

Halifax led 25-14 at the 5:40 mark before halftime, as the Rockets continued to chip away at the Comet advantage.

The Rockets led, 32-30, at the half.

Halifax proved very competitive in the third period. Spraggins executed a quick step and scored inside, drawing a foul in the process. Spraggins hit the free throw and Halifax trailed, 38-37, with 2:07 left in the third.

But Person rallied a bit and led by six, 46-40, heading into the final period.

Brown drove the lane and Person led, 50-44. At the 5:32 mark, Spraggins moved inside and got fouled. He made both free throws.

Person then went into a deep freeze, getting outs cored 15-8 in the decisive final stretch in regulation and overtime.

Turnovers, missed free throws and sputtering offense doomed the Rockets.

Dixon made a slick reverse layup to cut the Comet deficit to 50-46, and M. Williams followed with a layup for a 50-48 Rocket advantage.

Person made one free throw for a 51-48 lead with 41.9 seconds in regulation.

Dunkley answered with an inside layup with 10.4 seconds left in regulation.

Person made a final free throw in regulation for a 52-50 lead with 5.3 seconds. Halifax’s Ferrell answered with a follow-up tip-in to force a 52-all tie just before the clock wound down.

Spraggins executed a strong power move and got fouled for a 57-54 lead.

Spraggins delivered another follow-up basket for a 59-54 lead.

But the Rockets drew to 59-56 on two made free throws. Person crept within one, 59-58, on two more made free throws with 1:13 left.

Halifax missed the front end of a one-on-one, but the Comets held on for an exhilarating win after the Rockets missed two late free throws and a desperation heave at the end.

Earlier, Halifax raced by Dan River and built a substantial 35-18 lead at the half.

Halifax saw its lead reduced in the second half, but Williams made the moves to avoid a total collapse at the end.

Spraggins led the Comets with 16 points.

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