On Tuesday, February 6, Leesville and Sanderson faced off in their second and final matchup of the regular season. Although the Pride led by as many as 10 in the first half, the Pride fell to Sanderson by a final score of 54-51.
Leesville went into this game needing a win. The Pride had lost three in a row and held a 3-5 record in conference. Early in the game, Leesville took care of business and grew a sizable lead thanks to a few good shots from Grady Whitt and Cole Lanford.
Throughout the remainder of the half, Leesville traded buckets with Sanderson and found themselves leading 24-20 at halftime.
For the majority of the second half, Sanderson led comfortably. Leesville had no answers for Nate Fife, sophomore guard for Sanderson.
With just 51 seconds remaining in regulation, the Spartans held a 9 point lead.
Following a miraculous sequence of deep three pointers from Leesville’s Hayes Oxendine and Arnav Shah, Leesville found themselves down just one point with five seconds remaining.
The Pride was forced to foul Sanderson’s Nathan Fife immediately following an inbound pass. This foul put Fife on the line for two free throws. Although the pressure was on, Fife came through for the Spartans and made both shots giving Sanderson a 54-51 lead with just three seconds left.
Following the free throws, Leesville knew they needed a three to send the game to overtime.
After a brief moment to collect themselves, Leesville was set for their inbound play.
Cole Lanford took the ball out of bounds for the Pride and threw a risky pass that ended up in the hands of Wil Murray right around half court. He quickly passed the ball to Hayes Oxendine who pump faked, making a defender miss in the process. Oxendine then attempted a deep, uncontested 3 pointer that he just missed off the back rim.
Although the Pride fell in the end, they showed that when they are able to move the ball and get out in transition, they can be a scary matchup for any team in the first round of the state playoffs. As of now, Leesville is projected to be a 20 seed.
I play wide receiver here at Leesville. I love writing and talking about sports!