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Comets prepare for conference tournament

South Boston News
Zion Bailey pursues a loose ball / February 13, 2017
The Halifax County High School varsity boys basketball team is focused on the postseason, with the start of Conference 16 tournament action tonight.

Halifax, which fell to Martinsville at home Thursday night, 46-41, will meet PH-Ashland in an elimination game at home, starting at 7 p.m.

Halifax is seeking a Region 5-A berth.

The Comets finished the regular season 14-7.

Halifax had a tough deal against Martinsville. The Comets fell behind early, trailing 10-9 at the end of the first period and 28-22 at halftime.

Martinsville outscored the Comets, 9-6, in the third. The Comets made up some ground in the final period, outscoring the Bulldogs 13-9, but the visitors held on for the win.

Zion Bailey connected on a pair of 3s and led Halifax with 14 points.

James Smith Jr. helped lead the final charge with seven points in the fourth period. Smith finished with 12 points. Ford Morrison contributed nine points, while Tylik Powell had three points, all in the final period. Shelquon Edmunds had three points.

Halifax scored 13 points in a quarter twice against Martinsville, with the final rally coming in the fourth quarter.

Smith and Bailey both hit 3-pointers. The Comets came close, but could not finish the deal.

Comet coach Sterling Williams lamented the close call.

“We weren’t able to knock down the shots we’re normally knocking down. We didn’t finish around the basket. We still had …. a chance to win (near the end),” said Williams.

Halifax had several possessions near the end where the Comets turned it over, giving Martinsville easy scoring opportunities.

“We had those costly turnovers, and we didn’t win the ballgame,” said Williams.

Williams said the regular season went better than expected, following the resignation of veteran coach Larry Epperly.

Williams previewed the upcoming test tonight.

The Comets will meet PH-Ashland. Williams said, “they’re going to be pretty good. The record doesn’t really indicate (their worth). They’re in a tough district.

“It’s a win or go home game. We’re up for the challenge. I think it’ll be a good game for us,” said Williams, who was planning to study film on the Richmond-area school.

“It’s about us, it’s about what we do. We’ve got to do the things that we do, which is play defense,” said Williams.

He wants to see Halifax apply pressure and play defense “the way we know how to play.” Halifax wants to control the elements of the game that the staff knows they can take care of in the postseason opener.

Smith said Halifax needs to come prepared tonight to get the win. He hopes to play even better than he did in the regular season. Smith cited strong defense as a major key tonight.

Bailey, also a senior, said the Comets need to be pushing forward, while playing solid defense.

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