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Lions fall short in title quest / February 20, 2017
The Halifax County Middle School boys basketball team battled hard, but ultimately fell short in overtime in the Junior Piedmont District tournament game, losing to Laurel Park, 47-44, on Thursday night in South Boston.

“I knew it was going to be a tough game as we split with them during the regular season,” said Lion coach W.J. Long.

“We knew exactly what we were up against - good guards and a very good free throw shooting team,” said Long.

Halifax missed opportunities at the foul line.

The visitors got to the line frequently, and finished 14-for-25 from the foul line. Halifax went six-for-17 from the charity stripe.

:I told my guys this game will more than likely come down to free throw shooting. And it did. Both teams got into the bonus in both halves and they made most of theirs, we missed most of ours,: said Long.

Still, Halifax scrapped hard and forced a 41-all tie heading into overtime. Laurel Park doubled up Halifax in OT, 6-3. Osiris Ross had the lone scoring for Halifax in the extra session, scoring all three points.

Kevon Ferrell led Halifax with 16 points and Ksyshawn Wells had eight. Ross chipped in with six.

The title game featured multiple runs.

Halifax led 10-4 in the first period. LP doubled up the Lions, 18-9, in the second quarter. Both teams had ten points in the third quarter. Halifax outscored the visitors 12-9 in the final period, forcing the extra session.

“The game was back and forth all game long, very exciting, up tempo game. We had a few costly turnovers down the stretch. (HC) had several opportunities to get a two- or three-point lead with a minute or so to go, but missed free throw after free throw. I think we were one for our last eight. Dismal,” said Long.

“Anyway, my boys played hard. Kevon fouled out which hurt, but I can’t say anything bad about their effort. Very disappointing to lose the last game after such a good season. A lot of tears in the locker room,” said Long.

The coach told his players to “hold their heads high. This loss stings, but hopefully it will motivate them to work even harder and get ready for next season. They will see the same guys for the next few years as they progress through (HCHS),” said Long.

Halifax had been the no. 1 seed in the tournament, while Laurel Park was the second seed.

SEMIFINALS: Halifax breezed past Ben Franklin Middle, 60-42, on Wednesday in the tournament opener here.

Halifax limited the visitors to three field goals in the eight-point final quarter, including two treys.

Halifax played very well on offense, recording three double figure quarters.

Halifax had 19 points in the first quarter, 17 in the second, and 16 in the final stanza.

Ferrell held the hot hand, scoring 32 points.

Devon Jennings had 10, while Montreal Claiborne scored eight points. “Best offense we have played all year, everything was spot on,” said Long. “They played zone for most of the game. We ran about three plays all night against it. Proved to be very successful - we got inside looks, mid range looks, and a few 3s to drop also,” said Long.

“Defensively we played man all night, no pressing. Just lock down in the half court, played it fairly well, held them to a low number in the first half,” said Long.

Halifax had sloppy play and gave up good looks, and the Lions had to withstand a late run from Franklin. But the Lions regained control.

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