- Last Updated on 07:00 AM 12/24/12
- BY Joe Chandler
From the looks of the first half, nobody attending Halifax County High School’s game against Magna Vista High School would have guessed what would transpire in the second half.
Coming off of a road win against E.C. Glass High School the night before, the Comets appeared sluggish in posting a 24-18 halftime lead over the Warriors.
“It looked like we were stuck in mud,” said Comets Head Coach Larry Epperly. “We talked about it during halftime and said we have to get better. I think we responded.”
When the game ended there was no question that the Comets had responded – and had responded well.
Using a stifling pressure defense, the Comets created a lot of chaos for the Warriors in the second half and took advantage of numerous easy baskets to run away to a 72-36 win.
The win was the third victory in a row for the Comets, and it improved the team’s record to 5-4 on the season.
“It’s been our defense,” Epperly pointed out.
“When we can get stops and get steals it generates a lot of offense for us. We had a lot of those plays tonight. Once we started making some baskets, we kind of took off.”
One of the Comets players that took off was Tavion Petty. The Comets’ sophomore guard buried five field goals in the third quarter, two of them three-pointers. His final basket of the game, a three-pointer, came with 11.5 seconds left in the third quarter and gave him a game-high 18 points.
Petty’s 12 third-quarter points were a part of a 26-13 run by the Comets that put the contest out of the Warriors’ reach.
“I just wanted to step my game up in the second half,” Petty pointed out.
“I had a shaky first half, and I wanted to have a good second half. My shot wasn’t falling all game. I kept attacking and getting out fast on the break, looking for the push up from Keyshawn (teammate Keyshawn Johnson) and my other teammates and I got some baskets.”
Johnson chipped in 12 points in the game, hitting three second-half baskets to help propel the Comets’ effort.
“My teammates found me open at times,” Johnson said.
“I was wide open and took the shots and got going. I hit two or three good shots and after that, it was rolling for me.”
The Comets’ pressure defense took its tool on Magna Vista High School. Magna Vista High School had 27 turnovers in the game, 10 of them occurring during the third quarter when Halifax outscored Magna Vista 26-13 to run out to a 50-31 lead.
The game was close at the outset. Halifax County led by 5 points twice in the opening period, but a three-point shot from the Warriors’ Chris Hampton with 24 seconds left in the quarter cut Magna Vista’s deficit to two points at 12-10 at the end of the quarter.
Magna Vista continued to keep the game close in the second quarter until a 5-1 run by Halifax County High School in the last 2:33 of the half gave the Comets some breathing room. A three-point shot from Keyshawn Johnson gave the Comets a six-point 24-18 lead at the halftime break.
The Warriors’ Adrian Hatfield, who led his team with 13 points, buried a three-pointer to start the third quarter and cut Magna Vista High School’s deficit to three points at 24-21.
Halifax County’s Trelanne Johnson answered with a three-pointer, kicking off an 11-1 Halifax County run that gave the Comets a 35-22 lead. That run by the Comets proved to be the knockout blow, as the Comets led 50-31 at the end of the third quarter.
The Comets outscored the Warriors 22-5 in the fourth quarter to complete the runaway.
Magna Vista made only 11 field goals in the game. Five of them were three-pointers with Hatfield sinking three of them and Chris Hampton hitting the other two.
Halifax County had 19 turnovers in the contest, 10 of them coming in the first half when the Comets were struggling to get on track.