Coming off the disappointment of an opening Region XIV loss in Baytown to Navarro College Saturday, the Lee College Rebels basketball team and head coach Roy Champagne got back to brass tacks:
The host Rebels used a cocktail of sporadic, hot shooting from beyond the arc and a plethora of strong finishes at the tin to hold off visiting LSU-Eunice 101-91 Tuesday night.
“We are trying to adhere to the gameplan since we have had a tough time doing that,” Chanpagne said. “We do some great things and then we shy away from it because we have some young guys who are very talented and they feel that they can take it on. Tonight we were just trying to keep the tempo and play fast and we did that.”
Lee (9-3) was led by Jackson Makoi (25 points), Keontae White (23 points), Ishmael Cruz-Paris (15 points) and Chris Osten (13 points).
A Makoi hoop and harm four minutes into the second half helped prop Lee to a 67-57 lead as the Bengals continued keeping the game within striking range of one or two possessions.
The Bengals (7-3) clearly had no expectations of rolling over and two free throws three minutes later made it a 69-65 lead.
The Lee advantage wavered back and forth between two and three possessions until a triple by Marvens Petion gave the home team an 86-78 lead with 6:33 to go.
That make seemed to loosen the Rebels up a bit as they pushed out to a 10-point advantage.
LSUE battled and pulled with six, but a Makoi follow pushed Lee back up 96-88 with 103 seconds left.
Champagne was happy with the “man’s game” that Makoi played and the leadership of White in a game where the Rebels answered multiple LSUE challenges.
“You have to respond,” Champagne said. “We just have to keep moving and play beyond the next play. We are scoring a lot of points and scored 77 against Navarro and that was more about us.”
Lee took a 15-10 lead five minutes into the first half behind a strong attack at the rim mostly via drives against the LSUE defense or with the occasional drop down in the post.
Barbers Hill alum Max Armer dished outside to Cruz-Paris who splashed home an unchallenged triple 90 seconds later for a 20-12 Lee lead.
The visiting Bengals got hot and rallied to take a 28-27 lead midway through the half.
Lee started to roll after that as the middle of the LSUE defense was ripped apart like wet tissue paper as the Rebels broke out to multiple, double-digit leads.
Yet, the Bengals did not relent and they fought back to trail 52-49 at the half.
Lee was led by White’s 15 points while Makoi and Osten chipped in with 10 apiece
The teams combined for a total of 11 triples in the first 20 minutes led by White’s three.