Senior Daniel Sepokas (Illawong, Australia) poured in a game-high 28 points, including 18 in the first half, to lead the Lees-McRae College men's basketball team on Friday evening in Williams Gymnasium, as the Bobcats fell to Limestone College
by a score of 76-59 in Conference Carolinas play. The Bobcats honored their senior class prior to tip-off, celebrating the careers of DJ Brown (Anderson, S.C.), Will Lopez (Sydney, Australia), Corey Young (Bluff City, Tenn.), Chad Eppley (Boone, N.C.), Robert Hawthorne (Greenville, S.C.), Juan Urbina (Barquisimeto, Venezuela), Jeremiah Henry (Semmes, Ala.), and Sepokas in an emotional pre-game ceremony.
Limestone (19-7, 15-5 CC) posted a field goal percentage of 58.5 percent in the contest, including a 65.2 percent clip in the first half, while holding Lees-McRae (3-23, 3-17 CC) to a mark of 36.2 percent from the floor on the night. The Saints won the battle on the glass by a 33-29 margin, including a 24-15 advantage on the defensive boards, as the Bobcats knocked down nine three-pointers in the game.
Sepokas shined in his final game with the Bobcats, pouring in a game-high 28 points to finish his career ranked sixth on the program's all-time list with 1,236 markers. The senior guard connected on 9-of-18 attempts from the floor, including a 4-for-6 clip from beyond the arc, while dishing out three assists.
A native of Illawong, Australia, Sepokas went 6-for-8 at the free throw line, moving into second on the school's all-time list with 352 successful attempts from the charity stripe; he also closes out his career ranked second in program history with 288 assists.
Young added 11 points and three assists, as Henry chipped in seven markers and six boards. Urbina also posted a team-high seven rebounds for the Bobcats.
Charles Blue led the way for Limestone with 18 points and seven rebounds, going 7-for-12 from the floor, as Phillip Moultrie added 14 markers and a game-high eight boards. Chavis Rhasod and PJ Foster chipped in 12 and 11 markers, respectively, while Joe Raga dished out a game-high five assists.
The Bobcats stayed with the Saints in the early going, claiming a narrow 11-10 advantage on back-to-back jumpers by Sepokas before Limestone answered with a 4-0 spurt, taking a 14-11 lead following a lay-in by Jamal McNeill at the 12:07 mark. After Charles Clarke (Orlando, Fla.) knocked down a triple to even the tally at 14-14, Limestone countered with a 14-2 run to claim a 28-16 advantage on a Moultrie layup with 6:15 to play in the period.
Lees-McRae would answer with a 15-5 surge, closing the gap to 33-31 on back-to-back treys from Sepokas at the 2:37 mark before Limestone took a 38-32 advantage into the intermission. The Bobcats carried the momentum into the early moments of the second half, cutting the lead to 40-37 on a Henry jumper with 19:04 to play.
The Saints responded with a 16-4 run, stretching the margin to 56-41 following a triple by Ryan Bogdan at the 12:35 mark. Lees-McRae battled back, cutting the lead to 58-48 with a 7-2 spurt that was capped by a long-range connection by Young off a pass from Sepokas with 9:34 left on the clock.
Limestone answered once again with a 13-5 run, pushing the advantage to 71-53 on a Charles lay-in after Sepokas converted a three-point play at the 3:18 mark. Sepokas closed out his Bobcat career with one of his trademark jumpers with 2:09 to play, leaving the floor to a standing ovation from the Williams Gym crowd moments later, before Hawthorne capped the night's scoring with a nifty layup with 22 ticks left on the clock.
Lees-McRae is expected to return eight letter-winners from this year's squad, including rising seniors DeAndre Tillman (Charlotte, N.C.), James Saint Marc (Tampa, Fla.), and Clarke.
No.9 Saints Pull Away From Bobcats, 94-72
The Lees-McRae College women's basketball team placed four players in double figures, as the Bobcats dropped a hard-fought battle to No. 9 Limestone College by a score of 94-72 in Conference Carolinas play on Friday evening in Williams Gymnasium.
The Bobcats honored their senior class prior to tip-off, celebrating the careers of Juliane Faltus (Berlin, Germany), Candace Flowers (Charlotte, N.C.) and Zukye Smith (Chesterfield, Va.) with an emotional pre-game ceremony.
Limestone (24-2, 21-1 CC) shot 57.1 percent from the floor on the night, including a 65.5 percent clip in the second half, while holding Lees-McRae (9-16, 7-15 CC) to a field goal percentage of 36.1 percent in the contest. The Bobcats won the battle on the glass by a 37-35 margin, including a 13-6 advantage on the offensive boards, as Lees-McRae tallied an assist on 17 of its 22 made field goals.
Lauren Lewis (Concord, N.C.) paced the Bobcats with 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting, knocking down four three-pointers, as Kabrina Truesdale (Wilmington, N.C.), Layana De Souza (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), and Tayler Collins (Fayetteville, N.C.) each added 10 markers. Flowers led the way for the seniors with eight points, while Smith chipped in six markers and three boards. Truesdale dished out a team-high six assists, as Kerri Belcher (Roanoke, Va.) added a contest-best eight rebounds.
Maria Young led all scorers with 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting, connecting on six attempts from beyond the arc, as Stephanie Hayes nearly posted a double-double with 21 markers and a game-high nine assists. Morgan Brown added seven helpers, while Tia Williams chipped in 15 markers and five boards. Ashley Robinson recorded nine points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Limetone jumped out to an early 21-9 advantage before the Bobcats responded, cutting the lead to 26-24 with a 15-5 run that was capped by a Lewis triple and a Collins jumper with 6:29 to go in the half. The Saints quickly countered with a 15-6 spurt of their own, taking a 41-30 lead into the intermission following a late trey by Young.
Young and the Saints carried the momentum into the second half, opening the period with a 22-10 run to push the advantage to 63-40 following back-to-back triples from Williams and Young at the 14:29 mark.
The Bobcats would battle for each and every ball throughout the remainder of the game, finishing strong with a 22-12 run over the final eight minutes of play, including a clutch jumper by Flowers with 2:14 left on the clock.
Lees-McRae is expected to return most of its core, including rising seniors Nataljia Cakarevic (Belgrade, Serbia), Megan Tate (High Point, N.C.), Icey Patterson (Seneca, S.C.), Lewis, and De Souza.
Photo Courtesy: Daniel Sepokas, LMC Athletics