Mellette leads Wake Tech over Cougars
Southern Lee's basketball season is a week away from its opening night but former Cavalier running mates, Josh Mellette and Josh Lee, who teamed for lots of Cavalier wins and even plenty of the banners hanging up now above Cavalier Court, were in action - as opponents - at Central Carolina C.C. Tuesday night.
Mellette, a starting forward for Wake Tech C.C., poured in a game-high 24 points, and Lee, a starting wing for the hosts, led the Cougars with 16 points, as Wake Tech (4-1) defeated CCCC (5-2) 93-77.
Central Carolina came into the contest having gone 2-0 with wins over Mount Zion Prep and Thomasville Prep at the Sandhills Classic at Sandhills C.C. over the weekend.
The Cougars led for most of the opening half before the Eagles finished the first half with a 20-4 run for a 38-34 halftime lead.
While not as impressive as the run in the last few minutes before halftime, the Eagles kept finding easy buckets and held a double-digit lead throughout the last 15 minutes.
Cougar long-range shooting gave them the early lead. Darrell Perry and Lee hit a three each to take a 19-12 Cougar lead. Lee also scored two hoops on quick, slashing drives to the basket.
A 30-18 lead was the largest Cougar margin but a 7-0 Eagle run quickly made it a game again.
Mellette led the Eagles in the paint while point guard Waymond Wright was the playmaker with his own shot and sharp passes. Two Wright three-pointers sparked the 20-4 run and Shion Bradshaw's three-pointer gave the Eagles a 36-34 lead.
The Eagles kept the impressive offense going in the second half. Back-to-back Mellette hoops in the paint made it 46-38 Eagles. A series of seven quick points by Mellette, along with a leaping blocked shot on a lay-up on the defensive end just before a three-point play for Mellette, took the Eagle lead to 62-45 with 13:47 remaining.
The Eagles led by as much as 21 before the Cougars fought back part of the way. Guard Denzel Green scored 11 points in the second half with Lee getting eight and forward Julian Bailey getting seven.
Green hit a deep three from the left wing, then a two-point jumper from the top of the key to bring the Cougars within a 74-63 deficit with a little more than seven minutes left.
While that was plenty of time in what was a fast-paced, up-and-down game, the Eagles kept the scoreboard ticking over and the Cougars couldn't chip more into the lead.
Mellette had nine boards and two blocks. He scored 17 of his 24 in the second half. Wright had 19 points and eight assists, while also hassling Cougar point guards for a lot of the night.
Lee finished with 16 points and four assists for the Cougars. Green had 15 points, six rebounds and three steals. Bailey had nine points and 13 rebounds. O.D. Mills scored 10 points and got five rebounds.
The Cougars are in the middle of a busy stretch of their schedule, having won twice at the Sandhills Classic and faced Wake Tech in their home opener. CCCC will play Tidewater C.C. (Va.) at 8 p.m. Friday in the Region 10 Basketball Blast-Off at Wake Tech.
The Cougars will visit the Dean Smith Center on Sunday to play the UNC JV team at 1 p.m. CCCC will host St. Andrews the next night, Monday at 7 p.m.