It was a week of big, exciting games for Melissa as it tipped off the district schedule on Jan. 10 with a A down-to-the-wire, come-from-behind win against Bonham. That win set up the battle-for-first-place duke-it-out overtime match up at Princeton the following Tuesday.
The Cardinals were big exactly when they needed to be and won their first two district games to take an early hold of District 12-3A.
They will look to improve to 3-0 when they play host to Anna on Friday.
Melissa 65, Princeton 58
Going into the game, many overlooked the Cardinals because of their injuries and roster problems early in the season. Those same pundits thought that Princeton was the odds-on favorite for the district title.
They are rethinking that today.
Melissa took control of the game early, and with the exception of the third quarter was dominant throughout. Mid-way through the opening quarter, Melissa led 9-6 after a huge 3-pointer from Will Gray that ignited a 10-4 run to close out the opening quarter.
The Cardinals continued to widen their advantage in the second quarter with Connor Bazis taking control and scoring seven in the period. As the first half came to a close, Melissa led 34-24.
Princeton responded in the third, cutting the lead to one point going into the fourth. However, mid-way through the final regulation period Melissa led by seven after Bazis converted a traditional 3-point play.
The Panthers rallied again, however, cutting the lead to one with a 3-pointer with just over a minute left to play. Princeton tied it at 51-all after a free-throw and had the go-ahead chance with two seconds left on the clock but couldn’t convert. Overtime, here we come.
Princeton drew first blood with a free throw in the extra frame. Melissa responded seconds later with a huge trey from Sheldon Moore, who had been relatively quiet in the game up to that point. Moore ended up scoring seven points in overtime to help Melissa pull away and get the win.
"Going into overtime, they scored first and statistics will tell you that whoever scores first usually wins the game, but we answered immediately with that three and really took over from there," Melissa Coach Clint Sadler said. "This was a big win. I’m proud of these guys."
Melissa: Connor Bazis (19), Sheldon Moore (12), Will Gray (11), Cory Regan (11), Ryan Ragon (4), Karson Munson (2), Christian Cabil (2), Tyler West (2)
M 16 18 10 11 12 — 65
P 10 14 19 12 7 — 58
Melissa 53, Bonham 46
In its district opener, Melissa put together a 23-point fourth quarter to help get the win at home on Friday night. Both teams started slow, with more than 50 fouls called in the game. While the calls helped slow the tempo, the two combatants finished fast with the Cardinals on top, 53-46.
Melissa had four players in double figures – Gray led with 14, Moore finished with 12, Regan had 11 and Bazis scored 10.
B 7 11 11 17 — 46
M 10 12 8 23 — 53