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Eagles end Comets’ season

SoVaNow.com / February 19, 2009
By Steven Marsh
Special to The News-Record
Halifax County boys' basketball coach Lynn Ramage said he's seen it before. The site was the same, the opponent was the same and so was the result.

The Comets finished their Western Valley District tournament quarterfinal with one of its best points totals of the year.

Had they hit more shots, an NBA-like number may have been posted. Instead, lay-ups, especially in the first half, were missed and fourth-seed Franklin County converted shots from the inside and the outside in an 87-76 triumph that brought a close to Halifax's 2008-09 campaign Monday night.

The Eagles' 87 points were produced by two, 40-plus point halves – and equaled the most points surrendered by the Comets this season – Group AA Magna Vista netted 87 in Halifax's season opener back in November.

The Comets end their season, Ramage's second at the helm, with a four-game losing streak and a 1-8 mark in their last nine games.

The score was even at 12 midway through the first quarter. Then, the Comets began to miss and the Eagles shifted a fast-paced transition game into overdrive.

Franklin County, fueled by the play of starter Chris Tyree and reserves Tae Gilbert and Chris Witcher, produced a 12-0, quarter-closing run and later doubled the spread for a second time, 30-15, after Gilbert swished the second of six Eagles' 3-point field goals.

"(Franklin County) shot the lights out. They hit open shots. They made lay-ups. They did the things you are supposed to do,'' Ramage said. For whatever reason, Halifax did not convert when it had chances.

"They say the lay-up is supposed to be the easiest shot in basketball. We just prove that wrong every time we play. We've had that problem all year long,'' Ramage said.
"We missed 35-plus up here last time (in a 76-55 regular-season loss). (Tonight) we missed 20 in the first half. After that, we stopped counting.''

Halifax was 18 points in arrears, 37-19, in the second quarter, but sliced that deficit to 12 after an 8-2 run. Lemal Adams scored five points during that spurt and Russell White and Deshon Dabbs contributed points.

But, the Eagles broke the 40-point mark just before the horn when reserve T.J. Dunn rebounded a 3-point miss and scored his only points of the night.

"You've got to make lay-ups and you've got to control the tempo (of the game) on the road. You've got to play hard ... That's all there is to it,'' Ramage said.

Ramage said his team's transition defense lack communication among the players on the floor.

"Transition defense, that's communication. I was talking with one of our coaches before the game and I said, 'The best way to keep a kid quiet is put him on a basketball court.' "They don't talk on defense ..,'' Ramage said.

Franklin County opened the second half with a 10-2 run to make the count 51-29.

Halifax did not score from the field until Kejuan Mayo's basket with 4:07 left. The Eagles pushed the spread to 23 twice during the period: 58-35 after consecutive baskets by Tyree and 63:40 after a 3-pointer by Daniel Hutson.

The Comets did close the quarter with 16 points – the most Halifax scored in a single stanza through three periods.

Then, Halifax netted 33 points in the fourth quarter – the Comets won the eight-minute session by nine – That represented 43.4 percent of its total.

Halifax swished six of its nine 3-pointers in the final quarter. Five of those came in the last two minutes.

"We can do that (score 30 or more points in a quarter) if we get our guys right,'' Ramage said.

"We scored 35 in a quarter against Magna Vista. We've got to get tough that's all.'' Trailing 80-59 after a three-point play by D.A. Reynolds, the Comets finished the game with a 17-7 run.

Dabbs and Adams each hit a three and Marcus Williams drained three treys in the last minute. "I thought our kids did some good stuff. My second group did well. My first group didn't ... It could have been a lot worse. Doug had some mercy on me and went into a zone,'' Ramage said.

J.T. Edwards, who scored 15 points in the second half, including 11 during a four-minute stretch of the fourth quarter, paced the Eagles with 19 points.

Tyree and Hutson, who nailed four 3-pointers, each netted 18 and Gilbert scored all 11 of his points in the first half.

Reynolds claimed 15 rebounds, scored seven points and passed out five assists and Earl Gill collected five steals.

Twenty of Franklin County's 34 field goals were produced by an assist. In all, 10 players contributed points to the Eagles' season-best total. Dabbs scored 16 points after intermission and finished with 19 to share game scoring honors with Edwards. Adams tallied 14,

Williams had 11 and six others scored.

"In this (district) you've got to be able to take it inside and outside. You've got to be ready to compete,'' Ramage said. "That's a lesson for us to learn. Hopefully, over the break, we'll come back and prepare to do the things that good teams in this league do to get a home game and get past the first round in this tournament.''



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