Hamilton’s depth wears down Leesville

Warren Arceneaux

A new, deeper cast of players showed the trademark Hamilton hustle in the Warriors’ season-opening 67-36 win over Leesville Thursday at the Hamilton Christian Showdown in the Lake Tournament.

The Warriors (1-0) advanced to face Dunham in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. today. Dunham advanced with a 52-47 win over Anacoco behind a 41-point effort from St. Mary’s (California) signee Carlos Stewart.

Hamilton, which lost its three leading scorers from last season, including all-state guard and current Louisiana-Lafayette player Michael Thomas, flexed its depth against Leesville, using 12 players and substituting five at a time in the first quarter.

Hamilton stretched a lead that was nine points after the first quarter to 17 by halftime and opened the third quarter with a 14-2 run to put the game away.

“I have been having last year’s team with me until tip-off,” Hamilton Christian head coach Dexter Washington said. “Tonight, for the amount of practice that we had, with football players out there with heavy legs, I saw something in this team tonight. One identity Hamilton basketball has always had is just playing hard. We have that.”

Washington said having so many players competing for playing time is a good thing.

“One thing it does, if you don’t do something right, there is a man sitting right there itching to get you out,” he said. “This is the first time I have had this much depth. We have depth at every position and are explosive.”

The Warriors were led by Antoine Scott, who scored 14 points off the bench, and Mason Evans, who added 10.

“Scott stood out tonight, he had four or five offensive rebounds and will be a big plus for us,” Washington said. “Peja Boyd will be a good player for us. (Center) Malachi Evans played well, was more aggressive than he was last year.

“We have enough depth to wear people down. We just have to be able to score. Nieman Sullen came off the football field tonight and was our only point guard and played well. Tyler Joseph, who sat out last year, player well for us in his first game. He played hard, took a charge for us.”

Jalion Culbert and Keanu Pagan scored 11 points each to lead Leesville.

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