The DeRidder defense caused problems for Leesville throughout the night, leading the Dragons to a district win.
Led by a big second quarter, the Dragons defeated the Wampus Cats 76-54 Friday night at Leesville High School.
"We came out with a lot of intensity," DeRidder head coach Edwin Kelly said. "We tried to take it to them with our man defense, but we got into foul trouble. It took us out the of the flow of what we like to do, so we had to resort to a zone. We ran our zone pretty effectively because they had numerous amounts of turnovers. Overall, I feel like it was a good win. There was lots of adversity tonight with us in deep foul trouble. The guys were able to play through."
Leesville (19-10) trailed 15-10 at the end of the first quarter, but the Dragons (21-5, 4-0) outscored them 21-12 in the second quarter to take a 36-22 lead into the break.
"They have five seniors that have played together a long time and play well together," Leesville head coach Troy Grigg said. "They defend well ,and offensively, they execute. A lot of teams that have two or three that go to the boards, but all five of them go to the boards. They're quick to the ball and their reaction time is very good, while we were standing around and not boxing out."
With 2:41 left in the third quarter, DeRidder guard Dre Bagley hit a layup and-1 to give the Dragons a 21-point lead. Bagley finished with a game-high 21 points.
"Dre is the type of the player, depending on the level of the game determines how he's going to play that night," Kelly said. "The higher the level and more intense the game, the higher his level of play is going to be. He's our leading scorer, assist man and one of our top rebounders, as well. Not many high schools have a 6-foot-3 point guard."
However, Leesville ended the third quarter on a 7-1 run to get the deficit down to 14 at the end of the quarter.
"We made one run and we cut it to 14 points," Grigg said. "I told them boys at the end of the third quarter that with four minutes to go, we need to have it cut to seven. Unfortunately, we didn't. We just started trying to force more than what we were capable of.
"We are settling for 3s and outside shots. We're hoping and betting on it going in rather than executing our offense and getting a better shot."
The Wampus Cats have shown their ability to scored in the post throughout the season with the penetration of guard Seginald Bryant and the post play of Duwon Tolbert. However, they were forced to take deep shots due to the deficit and the post defense of RJ Gladney and the other post defenders.
"I felt like Duwon played well," Grigg said. "He did all he could in there and battled for the boards. He got to the free throw line but didn't hit too many. He played as strong as he could in the paint, especially against someone like Gladney in the post. Stephen (Thomas) is quick like RJ, but sometimes, when he gets to the hole, his momentum carries the ball over the goal. We didn't work together as a team tonight."
Leesville was led by 13 points from Bryant, while Thomas added 10.
Joseph Davis and Deirico Smith each scored 10 points for DeRidder.