LEESVILLE – Leesville is the smaller team just about every time it steps on the court, but the Wampus Cats have found ways to counter their lack of size.
Leesville played tough in the post and on defense, but could not hit enough shots, as it fell 44-31 to DeRidder Tuesday night at home.
"We played the game plan as well as we could," Leesville head coach Rickie Dixon said. "There were some things like missing a box out, but overall we played with great effort and played hard. The ball just wouldn't fall for us. We executed, ran good stuff and got the opportunities we wanted. We just didn't see the ball fall.
The Dragons could not take advantage of their size on offense, but their length and size challenged the Leesville shooters.
"We came in tonight a little too tense, and it showed early," DeRidder head coach Edwin Kelly said. "We missed easy shots and botched assignments.
"I want to utilize our post game more than we did tonight. Leesville did a good job of doubling down and denying my post entry passes. My guard penetration was a little bit off tonight."
Tied 22-22 late in the third quarter, DeRidder guard Josiah Shelton went on a 6-0 run to give the Dragons a 28-22 advantage heading into the final period.
Shelton led DeRidder with 16 points.
"That's the way he played earlier this year before we received the football players," Kelly said. "He was one of our go-to guards and he was consistent at knocking down big shots for us. I'm trying to get him back to that mindset and back to playing that way."
Shelton hit a layup at the 4:42 mark of the third quarter to give DeRidder (11-16, 4-1) its first double-digit lead of the game.
Leesville (12-16, 2-3) quickly got the lead back to single digits but could not pull within striking distance as the Dragons held on to the win.
Carlos Pagan led Leesville with 10 points.