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Lees-McRae Bobcats Headed to NCAA Division II Tournament for the First Time in School History

The Lees-McRae Bobcats won the Conference Carolinas Tournament on their home floor in Banner Elk on Sunday afternoon.

By Nathan Ham

The dream season for Lees-McRae College’s men’s basketball team will continue on in the NCAA Division II Tournament.

The Bobcats rolled through the competition on the way to winning the Conference Carolinas Tournament and punching their ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever.

Lees-McRae knocked off Belmont-Abbey in the championship game Sunday afternoon, 75-72.

Senior Lepreece Lynch led the way with 17 points and six rebounds and was named as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Quay Kimble scored 14 points and pulled down five rebounds, Kamil Williams added 10 points and Jason Saintizaire added 10 points. Lynch, Saintizaire and Josh Gaither were named to the Conference Carolinas All-Tournament team.

LMC’s record now sits at 23-8 overall and they will take on Queens University (28-3) of Charlotte in the first round of the tournament set to begin on March 10. The winner of that game will face the winner of UNC-Pembroke (26-5) and Francis Marion (20-9).

The 23 wins by the Bobcats this season is a school record, shattering the previous record of 16.

The Bobcats also saw their successes rewarded by their conference. Head coach Steve Hardin was named Conference Carolinas Coach of the Year while freshman Quay Kimble was named Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year. Lepreece Lynch was a first time selection on the All-Conference Carolinas team while Jason Saintizaire and Jordan Turner were selected to the third team.