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Bulldogs pull away in late going for14-point victory
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Comets pick up Senior Night win over Bassett
SoVaNow.com / January 30, 2013Sophomore Tavion Petty shredded Bassett and the Comets got some other favorable matchups Monday night, cruising to a 75-64 win in the final non-district game of the season.
The Comets snapped a four-game losing skid and improved to 8-12.
Last night’s game with Magna Vista was cancelled, and now the Comet season appears to ride on Friday’s trip to Franklin County, unless the Eagles can produce an upset in the district before meeting Halifax County High School.
HCHS (1-6 in the WVD) is hoping to force a tie for fourth place in the district regular season race. That would necessitate a one-game play-in game to determine the final spot in the district tournament.
If the Comets can make the tournament, they would remain in the running for one of three Northwest regional seeds awarded after that postseason event.
“I’m happy we gained a little momentum going into Friday’s conference game,” Comet coach Larry Epperly said.
But HCHS has to win Friday to have a shot at extending its season. FCHS has to lose out in the district before a playoff game is necessary.
“They (the Comets) know what’s at stake. We’ve talked about it before. We talked about the importance of winning tonight to get a little confidence,” said Epperly.
The idea was to “get a little momentum (heading to FCHS),” he said.
Franklin County lost 61-55 to Fleming. The FCHS boys are 1-5 in the district, and 13-6 overall. Franklin County has two games left in the district, including a home date with the Comets tomorrow and a game next Tuesday at PH.
HCHS played well Monday night.
Petty finished with 29 points to lead all scorers, and HCHS went five-for-15 from three-pointers. The Comets had eight turnovers, although Bassett did not apply all that much pressure.
Petty also had four boards and three assists.
“It was a lot of open shots, really. I got in a rhythm early and kept shooting the ball,” Petty said.
Petty liked playing against Bassett’s 2-3 zone.
“There were so many open gaps where you swing the ball and get extra passes. You get open shots,” said the sophomore guard, who hopes to work on his defense and dribbling ability.
The Comets got scoring contributions from eight players, as Keyshawn Johnson had 11. Dakota Delaware added eight.
Halifax finished nine of 14 from the foul line.
James Burden had a quality outing, scoring a season-high 16 points with five boards and three assists.
Bassett went 7-of-16 from three-point range. The Bengals were 15-for-20 at the line, and had nine turnovers. Devontae Wimbish had 22 points and Deshawn Valentine added 17.
The Comets, coming off a tough stretch in the district, played competitive basketball from the outset on Senior night. HCHS had some stout early post defense, as Morrison got an early block, and later showcased good ball movement on a sequence that ended with baskets by Petty and Burden to tie the contest at 10-all.
Keyshawn Johnson made the last basket of the first period, and HCHS led, 12-10.
Bassett hung around in the second period, until HCHS engineered a late surge.
Morrison made a nifty pass to Burden for a 23-21 lead with 2:25 left before the half. Burden was fouled on the play, but missed the free throw. Petty then buried a 3-pointer for a 26-21 lead, forcing a Bassett timeout with 1:57 left.
Petty followed with a running jumper, before Bassett cut the lead to five. Trelanne Johnson then scored for a 30-23 Comet advantage.
Petty later connected on another running jumper for a 32-28 lead at the half. HCHS got a good matchup with Burden in the paint, and he scored down low to make it a 36-31 game.
Moments later, Morrison got fouled and connected on one of two free throws, with the Comets leading, 37-32 at the 5:23 mark.
K. Johnson sank a three, and HCHS led, 40-32, with 4:13 left in the third. Bassett got two free throws and cut the Comet lead to six, but K. Johnson followed with an excellent pass to Burden, who scored for a 42-34 Comet lead.
Bassett rallied to trail by four, 44-38, but things unraveled for the Bengals after that.
Petty struck for a 3-pointer, and the Comets led by seven. Dakota Delaware made a good move to score, and HCHS led 49-38.
Burden got a good postup move, and HCHS led 51-40. The Comets led 53-40 at the end of the third, finishing a 9-2 surge to the start of the final period.
“We made shots. Tavion made some shots. We got ball reversal and into the post to James, and he had a good night,” Epperly said.
Bassett coach Jarrell Jones drew a technical with 6:10 left for questioning a call. Petty sank both free throws for a 59-43 Comet lead, and Petty later drained a three for a 62-43 lead.
Petty dished a quality pass off to Kevon Tucker for a basket and a 66-46 lead, and Bassett seemed all but done at the 3:33 mark.
HCHS had outscored the Bengals, 13-6.
Bassett later showed a good work ethic in shaving the final to 75-64. But the Comet lead was never in real danger, with T.J. Brooks making a move to break the press in the closing seconds.
“It was a good night. We needed a win, we got it. Our seniors got their win. We got a little confidence for Friday,” Epperly said.
“We accomplished everything we needed to do,” he said.
HCHS had a shot to beat Franklin County here and led most of the way, before losing 80-75. “We had a real bad spurt in the third quarter where they made some shots, and we missed a lot of shots,” he said.
“It’ll be a winnable game. The same two keys - taking care of the ball and rebounding - (apply here). If we can get some rebounds and take care of the ball, we’ll have a chance to win the game.”
FCHS has good size in the paint, but Epperly now has almost a week to prepare for this district game.
“We’ll be ready on Friday,” said Epperly.
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