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|Ouachita to play at Natchitoches Central|
The Ouachita Lions outlasted the Ruston Bearcats in a classic duel while the Lady Lions were one-point short against their district foes from Ruston High School.
The boys squad went on a big run in the second quarter to gain the upper hand against the Ruston Bearcats (16-7, 0-1), going on to win 57-51.
Much of the Lions' success was fueled by the stark play of seniors Mike Shaw and Jeremy Mitchell.
Shaw led the way for the Lions (28-3, 1-0) with 22 points, including back-to-back baskets in the fourth-quarter when Ruston had closed to within five points of the Lions.
The extra practice time and rest from actual competition last Friday night seemed to energize the Lions as they started fast and furious with a rowdy home crowd cheering on their every dribble.
Mitchell chipped in 17 points and recorded four steals. A fourth quarter fast-break layup by Mitchell halted an offensive threat from Ruston when the game was beginning to swing in the direction of the visiting Bearcats.
The Ouachita Lions will go along with the Lady Lions to Natchitoches Central on Friday night in their second district contest. It will be the third district game for the Lady Lions after dropping a home game to Natchitoches Central last week.
Ouachita has won either first or second place in their boys' district each year under head coach Casey Jones.
Natchitoches Central lost at West Monroe in boys action Tuesday by a score of 57-41. The Chiefs have struggled in district play to find their offensive identity, something which bodes well for a Ouachita team excelling on the defensive end of the floor.
The Lady Lions saw one slip away Tuesday night in a one-point thriller against Ruston. Zikie Davis missed a three-point shot and a Maria Brown put back after an offensive rebound was off the mark as Ruston (18-11, 1-2) held on for a 40-39 victory.
Brown scored 16 points to lead the Lady Lions. Ruston came back from nine points down to gain the upper hand over the Lady Lions.
"We need to be more aggressive in defeating the press," Ouachita head coach John Merritt said. "This will be another big district game for us coming up."
Natchitoches Central Lady Chiefs beat Ouachita in Monroe 49-46 on Jan. 27. Brown is leading the team in scoring and rebounding but was limited around the basket last time againt the Lady Chiefs. This could be a key to success on the road this time around.
The Lions will also play in the Hall Of Fame Classic on Saturday on the boy's side in their first back-to-back games since hosting January's Don Redden Memorial Tournament.