The teams played an even game through most of the first 20 minutes as the Rebels led by just seven, 43-36, at the half. Lee was taking advantage of their inside power and their speed. The Cougars hung tough with their outside shooting with forward Derrick Little and the guards hitting a few open shots. The guards, La’Darrien Williams, Brandon Hairston and Kristin Minor, also found themselves at the charity stripe after drives to the basket against the taller Rebels around the lane.
The Lee men came out running and gunning in the second half, using their speed and inside superiority to gain the lead and push it to a comfortable margin. The Cougar defense could not get the stops needed in the second half to make a run at the Rebels.
“We had a hard time in the match-up department, but the guys played well offensively. We just could not get the stops we needed to make a run at Lee in the second half,” said CBC head coach Larry Mendez.
Little led the Cougar scoring attack with 27 points. Three other Cougars made it into double figures as Minor finished with 14 markers. Williams hit for 13 and Hairston added 10 in the loss.
The Cougars are competing this week in the Region XIV tournament in Tyler. The CBC men are the 11th seed and met the No. 3 seed the San Jacinto Rangers. The Cougars finished the regular season at 14-12 in the regular season and were 7-12 in region play.
“We now look forward to the regional tournament. It’s our first regional tournament bid as a full member of Region 14,” Mendez said.
“It says a lot about this team and our program. The strides we have made in such a short time have not only surprised ourselves but also the region as well.”
The Cougars hope to grab a couple of wins or more in the Region XIV year-end tourney to hopefully finish strong.
“This team has a lot to be proud of, and, hopefully, we can get a win and stay a little while in the regional tournament,” Mendez said.