Austin Dennis

Velma-Alma’s Austin Dennis tries to drive around Healdton’s Justin Scott during the second half Friday night in Velma.

On a night when Dallen Mercer was honored for eclipsing the 1,000-point mark as a Velma-Alma Comet, his teammates gave him something else to smile about, another victory.

Despite a rocky first quarter against a stubborn Healdton squad, V-A soon found its groove and eventually handled business, winning 62-38 on homecoming night.

“I told our guys before the game you have to forget about the last game,” V-A coach Kenny Bare said. “Healdton has good athletes and stayed in the game with us. When you give someone the belief, then they are that much more dangerous. We came out in the second half and played a lot better and didn’t let them get back into the game.”

Perhaps the biggest two plays of the game came right before halftime, when V-A capitalized on a mistake by the Bulldogs.

After Zac Cable drained a three-point shot, a foul was called underneath the basket on the Bulldogs.

On the ensuing throw in, Dallas Bare alertly spotted Mercer under the basket, who scored a layup just as the horn sounded, giving the Comets a 33-20 lead going into the halftime break.

“The five point play was a huge momentum shift for us,” Bare said. “I was very pleased to see how we came out after that. We took the momentum and ran with it. Our guys didn’t lose focus with it being homecoming and all and I was proud about that.”

Healdton made life difficult early on in the first quarter, draining four three-point shots to keep them within three points of the Comets (13-2) at 19-16 going into the second quarter.

After HHS got to within one point at 19-18 with 5:14 remaining before halftime, the Comets started to take control with a 5-0 run that gave them a 24-18 cushion with 2:57 left in the first half.

HHS (5-9) never got any closer than 15 points in the second half as V-A rolled to its second straight victory and it’s 13th on the season.

Zac Cable led the scoring for the Comets with 15 points followed by Dallen Mercer with 13 points. Jaz Gayanich and Checotah Lynn each put in nine points, while Connor Sullivan added five points. Jake McGuire put in four points.

Healdton was led by Tyler Shaw with 10 points, with Marcus Long adding six points. Bobby Holbrook put in five points.

V-A was scheduled to play against Apache Saturday night.

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