SOUTH HILL — A hard-fought rally over the final four minutes of the game came up short for the Halifax County High School varsity boys basketball team in a 64-55 loss to Park View High School Wednesday night at Park View High School in South Hill.
"We could have won this game," remarked Comets Head Coach Sterling Williams after the loss that put the Comets' record at 1-1 for the young season.
"We lost because we didn't play consistently. The consistency will come in time.
"These guys are young," Williams continued, "and I have to keep telling myself that, keep trying to teach them and keep myself grounded as a coach and stay calm and let them know they are capable of doing this. Once they realized they were capable of competing with this team and realized the things they needed to do to score the basketball, the things they needed to do to get stops at the end, they were able to do that."
The Comets trailed by 14 points with just under four and a half minutes left in the game, but ignited an 8-0 run capped by a basket from Jordan Williams to get to within nine points at 55-46 with 2:58 left in the game.
After slipping behind by 13 points, the Comets rallied for nine unanswered points with Jordan Williams getting four points and MyQuan Williams capping the run with a three-point play with 39.5 seconds left to get the Comets to within five points at 60-55.
Forced to foul in order to attempt to get the ball back, the Comets could get no closer as Park View High School hit four of six free throw attempts over the final 37.7 seconds of the contest to seal the win.
Williams acknowledged the loss was a tough one for his young team.
"I told the guys there is no sense in harping on it," Williams said.
"I know they feel bad. I know they wanted to win. Everybody wants to win. We've got to do things the right way, and do them consistently throughout the 32 minutes of the game."
Jordan Williams led the Comets in scoring with 19 points, eight of which came in the fourth quarter when the Comets were battling to get back into contention. Michael Spraggins and Dashon Loudon chipped in six points each. Tyree Dunkley and MyQuan Williams had five points each.
The Comets led the majority of the first half, taking their biggest lead at 19-13 on two free throws from Loudon with 3:12 left in the first half. Halifax County High School went up by six points a second time on a pair of free throws from MyQuan Williams with 2:39 left in the half to make the score 21-15.
Then things unraveled for the Comets.
Taking advantage of Comets turnovers and miscues, Park View High School went on a 14-4 run over the last 2:18 of the first half to take the lead at 29-25 at halftime.
The Comets held their own at the start of the third quarter only to see Park View High School's Charlzae Holmes hit a 3-pointer to ignite a 6-0 run for the Dragons that produced a 39-29 lead with 4:59 left in the period.
Halifax County High School answered with six points on a pair of 3-point baskets, one by J'Quan Davis and one from Jordan Williams, to cut its deficit to four points at 39-35 with 3.25 left in the quarter.
Things unraveled a second time for the Comets at that point as they failed to score again in the quarter, opening the door for the Dragons to run out to a 47-35 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Williams attributed the scoring drought in the third quarter and the troublesome ending to the first half to his players' lack of experience.
"That was the inexperience piece, not knowing when to shoot, not knowing when to drive," Williams pointed out.
"They were kind of taking the "me" shots, the shots they wanted to get instead of the shots the Comets wanted to get. The only way to get over that is for them to play, get them into the game and get them minutes. Hopefully by mid-season we're still not talking about the inexperience factor."
Park View High School extended its lead to 16 points at 53-37 with 6:41 left in the game, only to see the Comets whittle away at their deficit over the final 1:46 of the game.
Jatonio Seward and Holmes led the Dragons in scoring with 11 points each. Niles Atwater chipped in 10 points for the Dragons.