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It’s tough for coach Kenny Bare to look at the box score of the 63-61 Velma-Alma boys basketball loss at Fox Tuesday.
It’s hard to blame him for getting upset about it. The Comets (12-4) were riding high after performing well in the final of the Stephens County Tournament in a 64-56 loss to Class 3A No. 7 Comanche. They had even moved up a spot in the poll to No. 14, but none of that stopped Fox (13-5) from getting a lead and holding onto to the win late.
“I thought we came off the tournament playing very well,” Bare said. “We just had a little bit of a mental breakdown... the first four minutes it was just like we were sleepwalking.”
Velma-Alma had a couple of chances to stick their noses in front and gut out the win. However, things went haywire.
First they had a turnover and a quick foul, which led to the final score. Then, the Comets couldn’t collect themselves in the final few seconds to take a shot with the clock expiring. It was disappointing after the road team held a 41-32 halftime lead.
Senior Jaz Gayanich 13 points as Velma-Alma won the second quarter 24-15. At halftime he had 26, and was on fire.
“It was fun to watch,” Bare said. “I haven’t had a lot of guys get in the zone like that in a quarter.”
Then Fox adjusted, and the Comets fell behind. They clawed back, but it was too much of a deficit. For the first time this season, a team not named Comanche had beaten the Velma-Alma boys basketball team.
“All the people I’ve talked to about Fox say how good they are this year,” Bare said.
The girls (11-4) didn’t have any problem on the road thanks in large part to senior Ariah Johnson, who scored 26 in the blowout win over Fox (3-12). The Comets used their fastbreak to their advantage outracing the Foxes any chance they got.
“We got a lot of points off our defense,” Bare said. “We were finishing fastbreaks, and they’re getting better at that.”
That’s important with the Comet’s top outside shooter, senior Teddi Southerland, sitting out for the next couple of days after taking a spill in the county final win.
Plus fastbreaks are somewhat an Achilles heel for their next opponent Bray-Doyle. Donkeys coach Frank Moser doesn’t want to see game versus the Comets get to a run and gun type of atmosphere. He slowed the game down against Marlow in the first round of the Stephens County tournament to great success.
The Donkeys (9-7) lost 33-30 against Wilson on Tuesday in a game where they shot nine of 21 from the free-throw line. Moser said the team needs more shots to fall if it is going to have any chance against the Comets Friday night.
“Velma’s going to score,” Moser said. “This isn’t a team we’re going to be able to hold in the 20s and 30s. So, we’re going to have to score some points to have a chance.”