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Comets take shot at region berth

South Boston News
Comet senior Zion Bailey slams home a dunk over the PH-Ashland defense early in Monday’s game. (David Conner II photo)
SoVaNow.com / February 16, 2017
The Halifax County High School varsity boys basketball team had two cracks at landing a Region 5A north tournament bid, pending the outcome of last night’s action.

Halifax, 15-7, faced PH-Roanoke on the road last night, with an appearance in tomorrow’s Conference 16 finals on the line. The third-seeded Comets were battling no. 2 PH, with the winner meeting the winner of no. 4 Orange County at no. 1 Albemarle.

If Halifax made the title game, the Comets would be in the regionals as no worse than a two seed. Three teams from Conference 16 get regional berths.

Regardless of the outcome last night, Halifax will play at least one more time Friday night. The Comets were hoping to land a spot in the Conference 16 title game.

But even with a loss, Halifax would get one more crack at a regional berth by winning Friday’s consolation game. The third place game takes place at the high seed, between the losers of Wednesday’s action.

Halifax got a breakout game from Tyliek Powell en route to a 76-52 win over PH-Ashland Monday night at home in the opening action for Conference 16. Powell scored 16 points, including eight in the third period and ten in the second half, on the way to a solid Comet victory.

Zion Bailey led the Comets with 16 points.

Halifax went on a 26-10 run in the third period, and salted the game away.

Bailey also had a strong third, hitting a 3-pointer and adding 10 points in the quarter to help lead the charge past PH-Ashland.

James Smith Jr. had a trey, as Halifax cruised into the final period. Halifax led 28-22 at the half and extended that advantage to 54-32 moving into the fourth quarter.

Halifax finished with 11 players in the scoring column.

Powell had his best game of the season, while Jamal Brandon had four points, all in the final period. Smith finished with nine points.

Ford Morrison had seven points, all in the final three quarters.

Michael Spraggins, up from the jayveess, made one of two free throws in the last period.

J’Quan Davis also had two points.

Center Tysean Dunkley provided some help inside and finished with five points, all in the second and third periods.

Halifax struggled from 3-point range, connecting on five-of-17 attempts. Halifax was one-for-ten in the first half.

The Comets had just six turnovers and went 11-for-17 from the foul line. PH finished seven of 12 beyond the arc, but the Comet defense was on target in the second half. Halifax limited the visitors to ten second half field goals, including just two treys.

Halifax had some early defensive breakdowns and trailed, 13-11, at the end of the first period. But the Comets picked up their overall game in the second quarter.

While the third period was the key, Halifax had some good moments before halftime. Halifax extended its lead to 19-13 on a steal by Powell, followed by a nifty pass to Bailey, who finished with a dunk at the 5:15 mark.

Patrick Henry closed within 21-18, but the Comets stepped on the gas again. Morrison executed a solid inside move to score, giving Halifax a 27-22 lead with 30.7 seconds. He added the free throw for the final six-point edge before the half.

Comet coach Sterling Williams said, “They (the Comets) feel good. It was a good team win for us. Everybody got to play.”

Williams said the Comets had really good defense in the second half, making more consistent stops. Halifax was able to get out for easy transition baskets.

And Williams was particularly happy with Powell.

“We’ve been expecting this from him. We’ve seen it in flashes. But (on Monday) he played a complete game,” said Williams.

Powell’s emergence as a possible solid offensive option can only help the Comets moving forward, especially if teams cannot concentrate on Smith or Bailey.



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