Cougars fall 99-98 in overtime
Central Carolina's four-game winning streak ended with a 99-98 overtime loss to Southside Virginia Community College on Thursday night.
The Panthers are two-time defending Virginia state champions in their community college conference and this was the first meeting between CCCC and Southside.
The Cougars trailed 37-35 at halftime after falling behind by 10 in the early going. CCCC figured out the Panther attack and strong Cougar defense and shot blocking helped close the gap. The half ended with a flurry of fouls that led to a Panther two-point advantage.
The second half opened with the Cougars playing strong team ball. Deinzel Greene (Central Piedmont) opened the half with a resounding dunk and the team put together a run that was generated by strong shot blocking and steals.
The widest Cougar lead was 12 points with 10 minutes to go. The Panthers had several runs of their own and cut the lead in the closing minutes, then took the lead by a point with less than a minute in regulation.
With the game knotted at 84-84, the Cougars failed to get a basket and lost the ball out of bounds with 12.4 seconds remaining. Their defense held the Panthers to one long shot for the win, which carried long as time expired.
In overtime, both teams led with the largest margin at three by the Panthers. In the closing seconds, with the Cougars trailing by three, Deinzel Greene scored off a rebound and was fouled. Greene missed the free throw, and in the final 4.8 seconds, trailing 99-98, the Cougars had a couple shots that would not go in.
The crowd, the largest of the Cougars’ season, gave the team an ovation for their play.
CCCC falls to 9-3 on the season. The Cougars hit the road Saturday to play at Virginia Western C.C. trying for an elusive 10th win. The Cougars have never had 10 wins in the first half of a season.
The Cougars were led by Josh Lee (Southern Lee) and Greene, with 22 points each. Julian Bailey (Cape Fear) scored 18 points and Kalon Buchanan (Hopewell), added 11. Bailey pulled down a season-high 23 rebounds and was strong on the boards all night. Bailey and Buchanan fouled out late in the overtime period.
The game atmosphere was great. The Southern Lee High School Marching Band played pre-game and raised the crowd excitement. The athletic staff threw T-shirts and candy to the fans throughout the game as well. The fans were treated to a great game and a great event.
CCCC's next home game is set for Jan. 4 versus Virginia Western.