Despite a late rally, the Volunteers varsity basketball team came up short in the fourth quarter. Brandon McClure scored 20 points and the Hornets used a 20-10 third quarter and staved off the Vols comeback attempt as the East Central Hornets defeated the Lee Volunteers 77-72 at Littleton Gymnasium on Tuesday night.
The Vols(2-8) were led by 18 points from Israel Mendez and 17 from Mark Sullivan, but it wasn’t enough as Lee could not take care of the basketball in the second half. They had 13 second half turnovers, and could not slow down the Hornets up tempo pace.
The team came out aggressive against the Hornets, with the lead switching back and forth for most of the first half. Lee did not take the lead until Mendez hit a buzzer beating 3-pointer to give the Vols a 38-37 halftime lead.
But as the saying goes, when the Vols came out for the second half, one team left the locker room and another came out. The Hornets started the second half by scoring 10 straight points, and 14 of the first 16; before the Vols knew it, they were down 51-40. To make matters worse, a buzzer beating 3 by McClure gave East Central a 57-48 lead going to the fourth quarter.
But then the Vols got going. Mark Sullivan’s 3-point play early in the fourth cut the lead to 66-59 and a Mohammad Barrow layup cut the lead to 66-61 with 3 minutes to go.
But it was the little things that cost the Vols. They committed 13 second half turnovers and could stop the Hornets when it mattered. A Chris Adams and 1 late in the game that would have cut the lead to 2 pending the free throw was wiped out due to an offensive foul and East Central scored seconds later, sealing the win for the Hornets. The Vols will take on Brackenridge Friday night.