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Martinsville dismisses Comets 64-51

South Boston News
Kevon Ferrell gets fouled under the basket against Martinsville Friday in the opening round of the Piedmont District tournament. (David Conner II photo) / February 11, 2019

Martinsville shot better, moved quicker across the lane, and easily dismissed Halifax County High School, 64-51, in Friday’s varsity basketball action in the Piedmont District tournament semifinals.

Halifax, 18-5, moves on to regional action Feb. 19. Martinsville will meet GW-Danville to settle the tournament title in Danville. The Eagles routed Magna Vista, 81-39, in the other semifinal.

The Bulldogs, playing at home, are 19-4 and have a very strong team that appears to be poised to make a deep run in its postseason.

Halifax has some work to do.

Halifax will now focus on 5D boys south sub-regional hoops action. The action starts Friday, but Halifax, as the no. 1 seed, has a bye to the following Tuesday. PH-Roanoke also has a first round bye as the two seed.

Halifax will meet the Harrisonburg-William Fleming first round winner in its home sub-regional test.

The sub-regional action continues Thursday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 23.

The Comets will need to watch the film and learn from Friday’s loss.

Halifax had the early advantage, but wilted under defensive pressure from the Bulldogs.

The Comets and Bulldogs split the regular season, winning each game by one point apiece.

Halifax finished with two players in double figures - Kevon Ferrell had 22 points and MyQuan Williams had 14. Michael Spraggins, who had been a consistent scorer for the Comets, did not hit a field goal and finished with two points.

Martinsville had three players in double figures. Troy Brandon had 15, Nigal Davis scored 15 and Jaheim Niblett scored 12.

Martinsville proved to be quicker off the dribble and much more effective slashing in the lane. The Bulldogs also can shoot well, knocking down seven 3s.

Halifax had a poor shooting night, even though the Comets had six 3s.

The district tournament has no bearing on the Comets’ postseason, and Halifax will now get more than a week off before starting regional action.

The Comets, coming off a road win Wednesday at Patrick County in the regular season finale, looked very good early.

Halifax took a 5-0 lead with about 4:40 left on a three-pointer from Tyree Dunkley. The Comets eventually stretched the lead to 10-3 at the end of the first period.

Williams snared an offensive rebound and drove for a basket and a 12-3 lead early in the second period.

But the Bulldogs began to catch momentum and eventually went on a 20-12 run in second quarter.

Martinsville really clicked in the third and outscored Halifax, 23-11. By the end of the third, the Bulldogs owned decisive momentum and led 46-33.

Halifax had three technical fouls, including one on coach Sterling Williams, and the game briefly got out hand late before school officials and law enforcement personnel worked effectively to contain further trouble. At the end, the teams cooled down and congratulated each other.

Tyree Dunkley suffered a late ankle injury and left the game. He tweaked an ankle and should not miss any time in the postseason.

“We’ve got to keep the big picture in mind. We’ve got time to get our legs back under us and get ready for the 19th.” Williams said the Bulldogs did a better job on the glass, fueling a potent Martinsville surge,” Williams said.

“We gave up some offensive rebounds, and they (Martinsville High School) were able to get back in it,” he said.

“We didn’t have our hands up on the shooters, and they were knocking down shots. Once they got into a rhythm they were rolling.

Martinsville came one game short last year of a return to the top level of state tournament play in Richmond.

“We didn’t expect this coming into the season. We lost four seniors, lost an all-state player, couple of all-district players. I’ve coached 28 years, and this is probably the best group of kids I’ve ever coached,” said Martinsville coach Jeff Adkins.

“To be 19-4 with these guys, pretty amazing. It was just a grind. Halifax gives us so much trouble, because of their size. Great test for us,” said Adkins.

Adkins has a team that is shooting well, with excellent spacing and defense for this season’s playoff run.

Martinsville limited its turnovers in the first half and also had success hitting its 3-pointers.

On Wednesday, Halifax sailed by Patrick County on the road Wednesday in the regular season finale.

The Comets swamped the Cougars, 61-30, and enjoyed a 20-point scoring night from Kendall Dixon.

Dunkley had 14.

The Comets had good scoring balance early and produced 17 points in the first period, 15 in the second and 13 in the third. PC didn’t even get into double figures until the third, with 13 points.

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