- Last Updated on 07:55 AM 12/10/12
- BY Joe Chandler
Dakota Delaware hasn’t had a lot to show for Halifax County High School through the first four games of the season.
Fortunately for both himself and his teammates that changed Friday night in the Comets’ road game against Bassett High School.
Delaware came off of the bench to score 20 points and snag a team-high eight rebounds to help lead the Comets to a 62-54 win over the winless Bengals.
Four of Delaware’s 10 field goals in the contest resulted from offensive rebounds. He sank a handful of others off of shots from deep inside the paint.
“They (Bassett) weren’t boxing out, so I was just going to the boards and grabbing rebounds,” Delaware said after the win that improved the Comets’ record to 2-3 on the season.
“My teammates were finding me when I got open. My shots were falling tonight.”
Prior to Friday night’s game, Delaware’s best night was a quiet 10-point effort in the Comets’ loss to Heritage High School.
”Last year I had a slow start,” noted the Comets’
“I’ve had a slow start again this year. I hope this is a turning point of my game.”
So does Comets Head Coach Larry Epperly.
“That really helped us,” Epperly said of Delaware’s big night.
“Against Martinsville (on Wednesday night), he shot one for 11, so we were happy to see him bounce back and play well.”
Delaware’s effort did not go unnoticed by his opponents.
“He played a heck of a game,” remarked Bassett High School’s DeAndre Kellam, who led the Bengals with 17 points. “He played strong.”
“The ball would come to him, and he grabbed the rebound and put it back,” pointed out Bassett high School’s Deshaun Valentine. “He got a lot of trash points, but he got the job done for his team.”
The Comets fell behind early, but took the lead on a layup by Tavion Petty with 2:22 left in the first quarter. When the quarter ended, the Comets led 12-5.
Having its best rebounding night of the season, the Comets went on a 13-2 run to start the second quarter. The run included three baskets from Delaware and ended with a three-point bucket from Petty that gave the Comets a 25-7 lead at the midway point of the second quarter. Taking advantage of a handful of Comets turnovers, Bassett rallied to close the gap to 11 points at halftime and get itself back within hailing distance.
Spurred by a trio of long-range three-point baskets from Kellam, the Bengals cut the Comets’ lead to one point late in the third quarter, and entered the fourth quarter only three points down at 41-38.
Two baskets by Delaware in the first 1:10 of the fourth quarter allowed the Comets to stretch their lead back to nine points. Halifax County held a nine-point edge when Delaware fouled out of the game with 2:32 left.
Despite Delaware being on the bench, the closest Bassett would get the rest of the way was five points. The Comets hit five of 10 attempts from the charity stripe in the final 1:13 of the game, with Petty sinking three of four attempts to close out the win.
“After a heartbreaking loss (a 68-63 overtime loss to Martinsville Wednesday night at Halifax) and a loss to Heritage on Monday, we needed a win,” Epperly said.
“I thought we battled hard. We turned the ball over at times that you need to take care of the ball, but all in all it was a better night. This is our first road win of the year and it was a good win.”
Epperly said while he was concerned about Bassett’s third-quarter rally with the Bengals’ long shots hitting the bucket he didn’t feel the Bengals could sustain it.
“Bassett made some tough shots on us,” Epperly noted.
“That’s what happens – you get behind and get a little desperate and start putting some stuff up and all of a sudden it goes in and you get a little momentum. We didn’t think they could continue to hit a high percentage on those shots and, lo and behold, the last two minutes they (Bassett) didn’t make any of them.”