No. 1 Terry Sanford edges Cavs again
If Southern Lee could've put together a last-minute comeback, it might have been enough versus Terry Sanford Thursday night.
Instead, it was only a 20-second comeback by the Cavaliers (14-10) and No. 1-seeded Terry Sanford (19-4), following a 55-54 win at Southern Lee capping the regular season on Monday, slipped by the No. 4 Cavaliers 49-47 in a Cape Fear Valley Conference Tournament semifinal game.
Southern Lee got the first hoop of the game, a bucket in the lane by Kevin McLeod, then didn't lead again until a couple of short spells of the third quarter.
The hosts led 11-4 after a quarter and the Cavalier offense continued struggling as Terry Sanford led 22-14 at halftime.
Cameron Martin's two three-pointers in the second quarter kept the Cavs at least within striking distance and Southern Lee got the big run they needed to start the second half.
Charles Wicker's drive and baseline scoop shot, then Noah Mellette's three-pointer, his first points of the game, quickly cut the Bulldog lead to 22-19 in the first minute of the third quarter.
Kevin McLeod's lay-up from the low block put the Cavaliers ahead 24-23. A few minutes later, another Mellette three-pointer put the Cavs in front, 31-29.
Terry Sanford scored the last five points of the third period, then the first seven of the fourth for a 41-31 lead with five minutes left.
Considering the Cavalier offense most of the way, a 10-point lead seemed to be a bigger gap than normal, but Mellette shot Southern Lee back into the game when he drained back-to-back threes making it 42-39 Bulldogs with 1:50 left.
The home side took good care of the ball, getting a bucket by Telligence Johnson, then two free throws by point guard Andrew Henrickson, to build a 46-40 lead with 0:58 showing. The Cavs and Bulldogs traded two points before a crazy series of plays gave the Cavaliers a chance.
Jamal James rained in a three-pointer from two strides behind the top of the key with 0:20 left and a couple seconds later, as the Cavs scrambled for a steal or a foul, the Bulldogs lost the ball along the baseline.
On the Cavalier possession, the Cavs moved the ball looking for a tying three-pointer before Larry McLeod drove to the basket and made a lay-up through a seeming block vs. charge call. No whistle made both sides unhappy and left the Cavs trailing 48-47 with 5.1 seconds left.
After a timeout, the Bulldogs got the ball in to Henrickson. He was fouled with 4.4 seconds left and made the first free throw.
Henrickson missed the second, the Cavaliers got the rebound and Kevin McLeod's 70-foot shot hit the backboard but missed.
Forward Isaiah Stallings led the Bulldogs with 13 points and eight rebounds. Henrickson had six points and six assists. Terry Sanford, season champion in its first year in the CFVC, is 3-0 versus Southern Lee this season.
Mellette scored 17 points, all in the second half, and made five three-pointers. Kevin McLeod had 11 points and six rebounds. Larry McLeod and Martin scored six points each.
Southern Lee is the CFVC's No. 4 seed for the NCHSAA 3A State Tournament. The brackets will be announced Saturday and the first round of the state tournament will be Monday night.