Ouachita coach Casey Jones can often be heard from sideline instructing his Lions to “run” at any point in the course of a game.
The Lions ran and pounced on LaGrange Friday en route to a 66-58 win in the second game of the 2014 George Belton Shootout at Wossman High School.
Ouachita (9-1) jumped out to a 24-6 lead by the end of the first quarter, and although the final margin might have been less than comfortable for the Lions, every player got some playing time on Friday.
An experienced team with eyes on a District 2-5A and state championship run, Ouachita has been nearly untouchable early in the season with the right mix of athleticism and team basketball at a high rate of speed.
“I was really happy with our effort,” Jones said. “At the end, I was just trying to get as many guys some minutes as I could. Our effort is really good right now. We are not a big team, so we are not going to be a big rebounding team, but tonight we got a lot of them off of our effort, guards included.”
In the end, it was the intensity on both ends of the court in the opening minutes that set the tone for the whole night.
“We preach that every day,” Jones said of starting strong at the beginning of each half. “We practice with a lot of speed and energy.”
Ouachita built a 43-21 halftime advantage off of some key turnovers and fast break opportunities that the team continues to excel at.”
Ouachita’s Jay Head had a big night with 16 points and 11 rebounds to pace the Lions. Cephus Gix poured in 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Also in double figures for the Lions was C.J. Jones (16 points), Cody Little (12 points) and D’Majio Richard (10 points).
“We want to be an up-tempo team,” Jones said. “When we are on the fast break we are tough to handle. Anytime we have the opportunity, we want to take advantage of our athleticism.”
Bastrop drops Vidalia
In the first game of the day at the George Belton Shootout, Bastrop dropped Vidalia 66-58 behind a strong offensive attack.
Bastrop jumped out to a 42-25 lead by halftime but it was in the third quarter that the Rams (7-3) showed the most poise.
Vidalia mounted a quick run to open the third quarter but could never seized the lead after Bastrop found their way again.
“I thought we did a real good job of keeping our composure,” Bastrop coach Theabury Odom said. “We came out flat (in the third quarter) but executed well down the stretch.”
Vidalia (6-2) struggled with fouls and turnovers in the game as Bastrop converted 16-of-24 at the free throw line.
Bastrop also found balance on offense that has the team off to a strong start to the season.
On Friday, Alfroncious Dowles led the way with 19 points and Kengerald Thompson added 12 points for the Rams.
Connect with Cody on Twitter @cfutrellTNS
For complete coverage of the 2014 George Belton Shootout, including late games involving Wossman vs. Woodlawn-Shreveport and Carroll vs. Ruston, go to http://www.thenewsstar.com