After opening the season with four straight losses, the Leesville Wampus Cats were looking to build some positive momentum heading into the Thanksgiving break.
So does winning a tournament championship qualify as positive momentum?
You bet it does.
Eleven different players reached the scoring column, with five of them putting up at least seven points as the Wampus Cats defeated the previously unbeaten Rosepine Eagles on Wednesday at the Cameron State Bank Holiday Classic at Westlake High School, 58-35.
With the victory, the Wampus Cats improved to 3-4 on the season, while the Eagles dropped to 5-1 overall.
For the first half of the first period, the teams were cautious of each other as the lead exchanged hands three times, while the game was tied once.
Leesville’s Lashawn Waters got the scoring started with a bucket in the post, but Rosepine’s Richard Palmer answered on the other end to tie it up.
After a basket by Dreyone Jenkins, Rosepine took its only lead of the game thanks to a three-pointer from senior Chase Blankenbaker, giving the Eagles a 5-4 advantage.
But Waters responded with a conventional three-point play, followed up by back-to-back baskets from point guard Anthony Davis, giving the Wampus Cats an 11-5 edge.
Brandon Maxile stopped the Cats’ 7-0 run with a free throw, but Demetrius Mark knocked down a shot late in the first period to give Leesville a 13-6 advantage.
The Wampus Cats went to work in the second period in an attempt to gain a little distance between them and the Eagles.
Rosepine’s Julius Jackson and Palmer tried to keep the Eagles close with a couple of baskets early in the second, but Ezell Craft, Tracy Smith and Levander Liggins all came in to score for Leesville, allowing the Wampus Cats to move out to a 30-11 advantage at the halftime intermission.
Leesville took a 21-point lead early in the second half on a basket from O’Shea Bryant, but the Eagles cut the deficit to 15 points, 34-19, as Palmer scored six straight points for Rosepine.
Mark and Craft scored consecutive baskets in the paint, while Davis drained a pair of free throws to allow Leesville to go back up by 21 points, 40-19, only to see Palmer score the final three points of the third quarter, getting the Eagles to within 18 points heading into the final eight minutes of regulation, 40-22.
The Cats’ biggest lead of the game occurred twice in the fourth period.
Thanks to a 9-0 run to begin the frame, the Cats opened up a 49-22 advantage as Smith had back-to-back shots in the paint, while Diontay Thurman drilled a three-pointer and Liggins scored on a short jumper.
The Eagles responded with a 6-2 run, getting two buckets from Maxile, along with two free throws from Jackson, pulling Rosepine to within 23 points, 51-28.
Leesville got a free throw from Denzell Davis and a long bank shot from Eddie Stokes to go up by 26 points, only to see Maxile knock down a couple of free throws to get the Eagles to within 24 of the lead, 54-30.
Thurman and Waters added late buckets for the Wampus Cats, while Jackson connected on a three-pointer and Kyle Dillon knocked down a jumper to account for the final score, 58-35.
Anthony Davis was the lone Wampus Cat in double figures with 10 points, while Smith and Liggins each added eight points to the cause.
Craft and Waters had seven points each, while Mark and Thurman pitched in six and five points, respectively.
Palmer paced the Eagles with 13 points, while Jackson and Maxile added nine and eight points, respectively.
The Cats are at home on Dec. 2 against St. Louis in their next game, while Rosepine also plays that night at home, taking on Pitkin.

Westlake Lady Rams......41
Leesville Lady Cats.....38

It was a bad day for the Leesville Lady Cats on Wednesday.
Not only did they fall in the consolation finals of the Cameron State Bank Holiday Classic Tournament at Westlake High School to the hosting Lady Rams, but the bus also had a blowout on the way home to Leesville.
“It was just a really bad day,” Leesville head coach Robert Carter said.?“We didn’t play very well and the bus broke down. We should have won this game.”
The Lady Cats (2-5) struggled out of the game as Westlake took an 11-8 lead at the end of the first eight minutes of play.
However, the Lady Cats responded by picking it up on the defensive end in the second quarter, limiting Westlake to four points, while taking a 16-15 lead in at the intermission.
Leesville used a 12-11 scoring edge in the third quarter of action to take a two-point advantage into the final frame of regulation, 28-26.
But Westlake rallied in the final quarter to take the win.
Leesville’s Tiffany Wallace had 14 points and 15 rebounds in the game, while Dominique Rodriguez came in with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
Westlake got 12 points from Nicole Bertrand, while Alyssa Query added 11 points in the win.
The Lady Cats are off the rest of this week and will return to action on Tuesday at home.
Leesville will play host to Red River at 6 p.m. There will be no junior varsity game that night.