LEESVILLE – Full-court pressure led to easy buckets for Leesville as the Wampus Cats cruised to a second-round win over Rosepine.
Leesville, led by 19 points from Carloe Sepulvado, defeated the Eagles 67-40 to advance to the Vernon Parish Tournament semifinals Tuesday afternoon.
"I feel like today we played to our competition," Leesville head coach Troy Grigg said. "Don't get me wrong, Rosepine is a good team for Class 2A, but we were overlooking them. It showed by the way we shot the ball and the way we played. We can play better than that."
First-year head coach Gary Hahler say he pleased with the performance but knows his guys will improve as the season rolls on.
"We didn't have a good first half and weren't as aggressive as I wanted to be," he said. "The second half, we were a little more aggressive. Leesville is a good team. I thought we played fair.
"I think it was more of what we didn't do than what they did. They were leaving the middle wide open in press, and I couldn't get someone to cut to the middle. Once we did, we started breaking the press. We didn't execute like we should have."
The Wampus Cats opened the game on a 14-0 run until Cade Procell knocked in a 3-pointer with 2:20 left in the first to put Rosepine on the board.
The Eagles (2-3) went on a 10-0 run of their own to trail 17-10 after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the full-court pressure of the Wampus Cats paid dividends, as Leesville scored four of the seven baskets off of steals to take a 31-12 lead into halftime.
"When we can press and get it going right, the momentum goes in our favor," Griggs said. "At times, we don't get into it fast enough, and they can get easy buckets. We want to play uptempo, push the ball and press, and that is where our game is the best."
A pair of free throws from Josh Stephens got the Eagles within 11 near the end of the third quarter, but a putback at the buzzer by DeAndre Grooms gave Leesville a 45-28 lead with one period to play.
With 6:45 left in the game, a layup by Grooms increased the Wampus Cat lead to 20, and Leesville picked up its third win of the season.
Deondre Wilson finished with 13 for Leesville, and Stephens notched 17 points for Rosepine.
Later if the evening, Leesville defeated Pitkin 63-39 to advance to the finals against Hicks.
For updates on the championship game, go to www.leesvilledailyleader.com.