The Melissa Cardinals (7-6) rolled to four-straight wins in Highway 5 basketball tournament play last week before getting nipped by Greenville in the gold-bracket finals on Saturday. The Class 5A Lions (13- 3) prevailed in that showdown at Melissa Middle School, 54-48, as guards Ezra Monroe and CJ Shellie led the Cards’ attack with 16 and 14 points, respectively. Melissa got out strong, leading 19-11 after one quarter, but Greenville rallied for a 30-27 advantage by halftime.
In Thursday’s opener, the Cards defeated 5A Lake Dallas, 50-38, with Monroe grabbing 14 points to lead Melissa’s effort and forward Tavenor Watts chipping in 10 points. The Cards held a 26-17 advantage at the half then nearly doubled-up Lake Dallas in the third stanza to lead, 39-24. The Eagles had topped Melissa, 65-52, in the season-opener on Nov. 11.
Versus RL Turner on Friday, the Cards bounced back from a slow start to win, 55-48. The 5A Lions pushed ahead, 16-5, in the first quarter but Melissa reversed the story to lead, 23-22, by the break. Monroe again paced the Cards, this time with a game-high 19 points, and Shellie added 13. Daxx Dunnahoe canned three second-quarter 3s for Melissa and finished with 12 points.
Later Friday, Melissa broke on top, 14-6, then went on to defeat 3A Commerce, 56-40. Monroe posted a team-high 12 points for the Cards and fellow guard Phoenix Bramhall was next with 9.
In Melissa’s first game on Saturday, the Cards avenged another loss, this time defeating 3A Van Alstyne, 67-62. Monroe put up a 13-point first quarter, boosted by a pair of 3s, and finished with a team-high 17 points. Shellie tallied 16 points, with three treys in third frame. Guard Samuel Tormos sank a game-high 29 points for the Panthers. Van Alstyne had won the previous meeting with Melissa, 75-68, on Dec. 8.