An early deficit proved to be too much to overcome, as the Halifax County Middle School boys’ basketball team lost its first game of the season 31-28 at Laurel Park Middle School on Thursday.

The Lions (7-1) trailed 8-5 after one quarter and trailed 18-13 at halftime, with both teams scoring 10 points in the third quarter, leaving Laurel Park with a 28-23 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Halifax County outscored Laurel Park 5-3 in a low-scoring fourth quarter, but the rally fell short.

Kanya Caddle led the Lions with 11 points, including a 3-pointer, and Rashad Jones scored seven points, while Titus Tucker Jr. added five points, including a 3-pointer in the fist quarter.

DeAndre Guthrie and Shamar Davis scored two points apiece, while Atavion Mabins added a point at the charity stripe, where Halifax County connected on only four of 17 free throw opportunities.

Laurel Park connected on two 3-pointers for the game and was 3-9 at the free throw line.

Thursday’s game was the first game the Lions had played since Dec. 19, and the long layoff was evident in the way the team played, according to head coach Nelson Baskervill.

“We played like we had a month off between games, and we shot very poorly from the free throw line,” said Baskervill.

“They slowed us down, and we did not finish like we usually do around the rim.”

Caddle bunched five of his 11 points for the game in the second quarter, and Jones scored six of his seven points in the second half to help keep the Lions close, but Halifax County was only 1-7 at the free throw line in the fourth quarter while attempting to rally.

The Lions travel to Fieldale-Collinsville Middle School Monday for another Junior Piedmont District contest.