Melissa’s Cardinals defeated the Van Alstyne Panthers, 65-62, on Thursday, Dec. 29, to claim third place in the In-N-Out Burger Allen Holiday Invitational at Allen High School. One month ago, the Panthers romped past Melissa, 66-45, in the Cardinals’ season-opener. Melissa (9-8) trailed in this one, 28-21, at halftime but pulled ahead with a decisive 24-15 run in the third quarter.


Sophomore Matt Holloway pumped in 18 points to lead Cardinal scorers, followed by sophomore Junior Castleberry with 17. Both Holloway and Castleberry buried four shots from 3-point range. Michael Hensley collected a game-high 23 points for Van Alstyne.

In the tournament semifinals the day before, John Paul II prevailed over the Cardinals, 46-43. Melissa held a 41-36 advantage after three quarters, but JP II stormed to a 10-2 run in the final stanza for the win. The game’s top scorer was Castleberry, with 21 points. Tre Homer followed Castleberry among Melissa’s scorers, with nine. For JP II, Ethan Messner was the top point-getter, with 11 points, and Anthony Kendall tallied 10.

Melissa finished the tournament at 3-1, with wins over Krum, Tatum and Van Alstyne.