Comets hold off Cougars

Stephanie King

Nothing is better than watching a pair of rivals go head to head. Randolph County basketball fans got quite a treat on Saturday as the Southwestern Randolph Cougars hosted the Asheboro Blue Comets. Southwestern Randolph entered the game 0-1 in conference play and 4-8 on the season, while the Comets were 1-0 in Mid-Piedmont Conference play and 9-2 overall on the season.

Nate Fisher kicked off the game with a steal and fast break score to put the Comets on the board. Brighton Long answered on the other end with a bucket off an assist from Tanner Ferguson to tie the game at 2 all. Asheboro went on a 7-0 run to take a 9-2 lead over the Cougars midway through the quarter. Ferguson ended the run with a bank shot to cut the lead to five for the Cougars. Tysean Freshwater pushed the Comets’ lead back to seven before Luke Dalke scored in the paint to cut into the lead for the Cougars. The Cory Durrant and Long traded jumpers before the Comets outscored the Cougars 3-2 the rest of the quarter. After one complete quarter, Asheboro led 16-10.

Ferguson finally found his shot from behind the arc as he drained a three to start the second quarter and pull the Cougars within three. Freshwater scored for the Comets, but Dalke picked up three points the old fashion way to cut the lead to two for the Cougars. After a free throw from Trevor Marsh, the Cougars scored four unanswered to take a 20-19 lead. Tatum Marsh put the Comets back on top with a three before Adam Callahan tied the game at 22 all. After a bucket from Asheboro Long drilled a three to put the Cougars in front 25-24. From there, Asheboro went on a 7-0 run sparked by a three from Noah Watkins to take the lead. A three from Ferguson brought the Cougars back within three, but the Comets extended the lead back to five with a with a bucket from Freshwater. With time winding down, Ferguson drilled another three to cut the lead to 33-31 at the end of the second quarter.

Southwestern Randolph picked up where they left off as Chris Hardin knocked down a jumper to tie the game at 33 all to begin the third quarter. Durrant answered with a bucket for the Comets, but Long responded on the other end to retie the game. Asheboro wanted to create some separation and that they did as they went on a 10-2 run for a 45-37 lead midway through the quarter. Long ended the run to cut the lead to six and the Cougars started to pull themselves back in this one. After a bucket from Freshwater, Elijah Reza drained a three off an assist from Callahan to cut the lead down to five. Watkins extended the lead back to seven, but an up and under bucket from Ferguson cut to five for the Cougars. Callahan then went two for two at the line to pull the Cougars within three. Asheboro outscored the Cougars 4-2 during the final thirty seconds of the quarter, but the Cougars were able to keep it close. After three-quarters of play, Asheboro led 53-48.

Fisher went two for four at the line to start the fourth quarter as the Comets took a 55-48 lead. A three from Long cut the lead to four for the Cougars, but the Comets scored six unanswered to push their lead to double digits. Callahan ended the run with a free throw for the Cougars. Asheboro picked up a bucket from Durrant and a point at the line for a 64-52 lead. Ferguson scored his first points of the quarter from behind the arc as he cut the lead to nine for Southwestern Randolph. A bucket from Freshwater and three points the old fashion way from Fisher extended the Blue Comets’ lead to fourteen. Ferguson continued to hit big shots for the Cougars when they needed them most as he drained another three to cut the lead to eleven. Asheboro would close out the game on a 5-1 run for a 74-59 win.

Leading the way for the Comets was Tysean Freshwater with 18, while Cory Durrant added 16. Noah Watkins finished with 13 and Nate Fisher notched 12. Tanner Ferguson paced the Cougars with 23 points, while Brighton Long netted 16. Adam Callahan finished with 7 and Luke Dalke chipped in 5.

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