SANFORD - Cougar Basketball is well on its way to its first 20-win season.
The team won its 10th game Dec. 7 at Virginia Western Community College, in Roanoke, 87-74 to go to 10-3 on the year. Although the final difference was just 13 points, the result was apparent from the tip. The Cougars are working well together and are raising their own expectations.
This was the first meeting between the two colleges. Virginia Western Blue Stars will enter the Tar Heel Conference of the NJCAA, Region X next year. They will visit Sanford at 3 p.m. on Jan. 4 for the return game.
Several community colleges in Virginia are leaving their state conference and joining the National Junior College Athletic Association, NJCAA, so the Tar Heel Conference may be expanding north in the coming seasons. Wytheville Community College is in its 4th season with the conference. Expansion into Virginia will help the conference schedule increase the Conference's stature nationally.
With the great start Saturday, Coach Doug Connor was able play his entire team. Jenaro Harris (Cox Mill) was the leading scorer for the Cougars with 17 points and is starting to settle into his role at the point. Julian Bailey (Cape Fear) again led the team on the boards with 16 rebounds and recorded another double-double with 10 points. Josh Lee, Cougar's leading scorer, was held to just 8 points on the day, while sharing playing time with several reserves.
Harris hit several 3-point shots to open the game and Billy Brunson (Hoke) hit all three 3's he shot for his 9 for the game. Chris Kelly (Cape Fear) finally broke out of his slump and put up 10 and Deinzel Greene (CPCC) chipped in 7. Shawn McGee (Enloe) held the Blue Star's leading scorer in check with a lock-down defensive effort and put in 6 points himself. Kalon Buchanan (Hopewell) had another huge night with 5 blocked shots for the second straight game.
The game atmosphere was great with a large partisan crowd hoping for a victory for the Blue Stars. The 13-point final margin was the closest they have been to any NJCAA foe this season. They have previous losses to Sandhills and Davidson County, by 40 and 80, respectively. Coach Connor did not want to make enemies with a future conference member so he played all 13 and gave minutes to some deserving players. Again, this was a team win for the Cougars and that's how this team has played this year.
CCCC will have a break for semester finals. They will the be in action next at Wake Tech in their Christmas tournament where the Cougars will face Catawba Valley on Dec. 20 and Wake Tech on Dec. 21.
The Cougars are starting to feel like this is going to be a special year.
For more information about Cougar sports, visit www.cccc.edu/sports/.
Central Carolina Community College Cougar point Jenaro Harris (out of Cox Mill High School), led the Cougar scoring with 17 points during the team's 87-74 victory over the Virginia Western Community College Dec. 7 on the Blue Stars' home court. This marks the first time a Cougar team has won 10 games in the first half of its season. The Cougars see action next at Wake Tech in their Christmas tournament, where the Cougars face Catawba Valley on Dec. 20 and Wake Tech on Dec. 21. For more information on CCCC sports, visit www.cccc.edu/sports.