Melissa bested the Class 4A Lorena Leopards, 57-47, on Friday, Dec. 29, Day 2 of the Allen Eagles Holiday Invitational basketball tournament. Cardinals guard Matt Holloway blew up for a game-high 23 points in the non-district contest. Bryan Ash paced the Leopards (12-5) with 15 points.


Senior forward Josh Wood led Melissa with four steals and he also collected eight rebounds. Fellow senior forward Cole McCraw tallied a team-high 10 boards. The Cards won the rebound battle, 39-35.


Melissa (7-9) led 34-22 at the half and 44-36 after three quarters.


Cards head coach Eric Benton was head coach at Lorena, just south of Waco, for six seasons before coming to Melissa in 2016. Benton led the Leopards to district and area titles during his tenure there. He said he experienced a range of emotions facing his old team for the first time.


“It was good to get to see those guys and see some of the parents,” he said. “Basically, their whole team were freshmen my last year there. It was exciting to see how much older they looked and how much better they are. But at the same, I was kind of uncomfortable having to play them. … Ultimately, I thought we played well and we did a lot of good things down the stretch.”


Melissa scorers: Matt Holloway 23, Junior Castleberry 13, Josh Wood 11, Cole McCraw 4, Ricky Morning 4, Ezra Monroe 1, Chase Mapps 1.