On Tuesday night at Leesville, the Pride Men’s Basketball Team was able to knock off Wake Forest by a score of 69-45 in the first round of the CAP-8 tournament. The win will force a rematch between rivals Millbrook and Leesville Road in the semifinals on Thursday.
The Pride traveled to Wakefield last Friday to finish out the CAP-8 regular season and to try to make it their fourth consecutive season with 10 wins in the highly competitive CAP-8 conference. They lost the game 55-50 in what many considered an upset, but this rebound win was big for the confidence of the team.
“The guys have confidence in each other to make shots and we have been finding the open man. The way we shared the ball tonight got us some great looks and we stepped up and made them,” said Frazier after the game.
In the first quarter, the Pride put up 17 points compared to Wake Forest’s 9. This was largely in part due to tenacious defense from the Pride guards as steals led to points for the rest of the team. The tone was set early, and it was clear that Jalen Benjamin and Jonathan Mebane were going to have big nights for Leesville.
The second quarter was much of the same for the Pride. Jalen Benjamin scored 13 of the Pride’s 21 second quarter points and the three’s just kept falling for Leesville. At one point the game got within a few possessions but thanks to a few steals and transition buckets, any run from the Cougars was thwarted. At halftime, it was 38-20 in favor of the Pride.
The second half was different though. Wake Forest knew they had to improve their defense to stay in the game and they did; the Pride were held to a meager 7 points in the quarter. Had Wake Forest scored more points of their own in the third quarter, the game would have been much closer going into the fourth quarter. However Wake Forest, led by Isaiah Jones team-high 15 points, could only manage eight points of their own.
When the fourth quarter rolled around it was Jonathan Mebane time, and he delivered. He scored 10 points in the quarter and after draining a deep, high-arching three, he almost had another that rimmed out as he was fouled. The crowd loved Mebane’s aggressive spurt and after the game, Frazier emphasized Mebane’s importance to the game.
“Jonathan Mebane was awesome tonight,” said Frazier. “Making extra passes, grabbing big rebounds, knocking down shots and playing great defense–his energy and effort was tremendous tonight.”
The Pride offense was led by freshman Jalen Benjamin who has been on fire as of late. He scored 26 total points in the game and was followed by Alex Hunter and Jonathan Mebane who scored 13 and 14 points respectively. With about a minute left and a comfortable lead, Frazier even saw it necessary to sub in a few called-up JV players. The crowd loved it, and Frazier said so did they.
“It was great to have everyone involved. The JV guys worked and earned the right to be here. They won 8 out of the last 9 games. Wes and Cole did great tonight.”
As mentioned earlier, Leesville will travel inside the beltline to Broughton for the semifinals against local rival Millbrook. So far, Millbrook has gotten the best of Leesville, beating the Pride in both CAP-8 games. Nonetheless, you can never get enough of the Millbrook-Leesville rivalry and at a neutral site, this game shouldn’t disappoint. Entering the final leg of the season, Frazier’s message was simple.
“Keep all hands and feet inside of the cart and enjoy the ride,” said Frazier. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”