The Leesville Pride (2-2) came up short against the Smithfield Selma Spartans (2-5) at home. A nail-biting 4th quarter saw Leesville take the lead, only to lose it in the closing seconds.
“We did not make free throws, and we got into a track meet instead of a basketball game,” said Coach Frazier. “The biggest thing we’ll have to do is stay patient and stay calm.”
The Pride started fast, scoring the first points with a Greyson Kelley steal and fastbreak layup. Their first 3 defensive possessions ended with 3 steals, and 10 total straight points. At one point in the 1st quarter, the score was 15-2 Leesville.
However, the Spartans fought back, and a hard tip-in jam from Quantez Leach made it 18-14 early in the 2nd quarter. Perhaps the highlight of the night for Leesville came with 4 minutes in the second quarter, when freshman Alex Hunter hit a spinning layup in between two Smithfield-Selma defenders after the steal.
Late in the second the Spartans took the lead, but a buzzer beating layup from Greyson Kelley gave the Pride the advantage heading into halftime, 32-31.
Almost mirroring their start to the game, Leesville kicked off the second half with an 8-0 run. Once again, they gave the lead up. The score was tied at 47 all until Smithfield Selma took the lead going into the final quarter after a fading-away, buzzer-beating three-pointer from Leach.
The 4th quarter saw none of the momentum-swinging runs that defined the earlier quarters. It was a back and forth affair, with multiple lead changes and ties. Once again it was Leach drawing oohs and ahhs from the crowd, with a soaring tomahawk jam midway through the 4th.
Yet the Pride had a 3 point lead in the final minute, and held the ball until Smithfield Selma decided to foul.
A missed free throw on the one-and-one from Brandon Staves lead to a layup from Zay Best, and the Spartans trimmed the lead to 59-58. Then, Leesville after missed out on another one-and-one opportunity, Smithfield Selma made another layup to grab the lead, 60-59.
The Pride had 5.6 seconds to score after a timeout. The play was for senior captain Brandon Staves, who came in down the middle and missed on a controversially high-contact layup.
“We haven’t hustled as much as we could’ve in the past couple days, so [we have] to change that up,” said Ben Zemonek, junior. “We’re playing Green Hope next, so that’s our focus.”