Athens — The Trinity Valley Community College Cardinals returned from a nearly one month break a little rusty in the first half against the Lee College Rebels Saturday afternoon at Cardinal Gymnasium.
But in the second half, they looked like a whole different team following a, 99-81, victory in Region XIV Conference play.
With the win, head coach Kris Baumann’s Cardinals improved to 12-4 on the season and 3-2 in Region XIV Conference action.
Lee (10-5, 2-5) jumped out to a 40-21 lead in the first 13 minutes of the ballgame as they nailed nine three point baskets in the first half. TVCC answered back with a 20-7 run to cut the deficit to six heading into the locker room.
“They (Lee) shot the ball really, really well in the first half. We let them come out and get comfortable and they made shots,” Baumann said. “I thought we were resilient and getting it to under 10 at the half was big for us.”
In the second half, the Cardinals came out on fire and took their first lead of the game at, 62-61, on a basket by Thomas with 12:42 remaining. Thomas scored 13 points for TVCC in the game.
“Obviously we played better in the second half,” Baumann said. “Thank goodness they started missing shots in the second half and we got it going a little bit offensively.”
TVCC outscored the Rebels, 55-34, in the second half and held Lee scoreless over the final 1:50 of the game.
TVCC was led by freshman Jarion Henry with a game-high 32 points. This was his first game of the season for the Cardinals. Teammates Karon Phillips and Josh Gentry added 13 and 10 points respectively.
“That is a pretty impressive debut and he (Henry) is capable of things like that,” Baumann said “He makes guys around him better and he can play a couple of different positions.”
Baumann said the Cardinals need to work on playing better defense in practice before returning to the court at Blinn on Wednesday night.
“We need to get better defensively,” Baumann said. “In this league, you have got to be able to get stops and we have got to do a better job defensively.”