Cavalier season ends at Eastern Alamance — again
Last Feburary, Noah Mellette’s scoring heroics nearly gave Southern Lee’s boys basketball squad a victory at Eastern Alamance in the second round of the state tournament.
Wednesday night against at Eastern Alamance in the second round of the NCHSAA 3A State Tournament, Mellette, now a sophomore, led the Cavaliers with 21 points but the Cavs (15-11) needed more Mellette and more of everything as the No. 9-seeded Eagles (22-2) blitzed No. 25 Southern Lee in the opening half and went on to an 83-53 victory. Eastern Alamance advances to play the winner of Chapel Hill at Orange in Friday night’s third round.
The Eagles, led by 5-foot-7 senior guard Lamont Robinson scoring 19 points in the first half and 23 for the night, started slowly in the opening minutes yet still shot their way to a 50-26 halftime lead.
With a few patient Cavalier possessions starting the contest, the Cavs and Eagles were tied at 2-2 about three minutes in. The Eagles took the lead with a 5-0 spurt before two Cav hoops, with a rebound and stickback by Mellette making it 7-6.
Robinson, already with two baskets, darted to the basket on an Eagle fast break for a three-point play making it 12-6 Eagles. Isaiah Evans and Rashad Reed knocked down back-to-back three-pointers taking the Eagle lead to 18-8. A 9-0 Eagle run starting the second period made their margin 29-11 and the lead was not in doubt through the last three periods.
Robinson paced the Eagles with 19 points but he got lots of help. Four more Eagles hit three-pointers. Malcolm Summers and John Lamot added eight points each.
Mellette led the Cavaliers with 12 points. Charles Wicker and Kevin McLeod scored five points each. McLeod and Justin McKinnon, the Cavs’ two starting forwards, gave Southern Lee a rebounding advantage early on but the Eagle shooting was too much to keep up with.
Eastern Alamance didn’t match its 107-82 win over Asheboro from the first round, but didn’t need to as the lead remained safely more than 20 throughout the second half. Lamot finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. Robinson, who’s committed to a scholarship offer to play at Mount St. Mary’s, added eight assists.
Wicker scored 12 points for the Cavaliers. Larry McLeod led the Cavs on the boards with 11. Kevin McLeod finished with seven points and seven rebounds.