Leshore’s injury changed DCHS’ style of play

Published 5:52 pm Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dallas County’s William Lee can remember November 23, 2013 like it was yesterday. In the closing minutes of a close win over Selma High School, he watched senior teammate B. J. Leshore fall to the floor with a leg injury and be carried off the court.

News didn’t get any better the following day: Leshore had torn his Achilles tendon. Lee, who is a UAB signee, had said all summer that his one and only goal was to win a state championship during his senior year but when he heard the news about Leshore, he thought that dream had over.

“I can’t say what it was like for my teammates, but for me it was like ‘It’s over. It’s over. We are not going anywhere, this is the end,’” Lee said.

Leshore, who said he had worked extremely hard over the summer so he could help the Hornets try to win their first state championship, thought at first the injury was just something he could ice or something he could recover from quickly. When he learned the extent of the injury, he was upset.

“I felt like somebody died in my family,” Leshore said. “I cried and I was upset. [Anybody] that loves basketball that much like I do would understand.”

But, he made sure not to show his emotions in front of his teammates.

“I was down but I was supposed to be the tough guy on the team so I [tried to] lift them by telling them this should just make them want to play harder for us,” Leshore said.

Relegated to the sideline and no longer able to provide a big defensive stop or make a big shot, Leshore said after the injury he yelled words of encouragement from the bench to help the team.

The Hornets had to change up its entire play style without the senior guard. The Hornets, who were known for forcing their tempo on their opponents, were no longer a four-guard team.. Dallas County head coach Willie Moore inserted center Lowell Furlow into the starting lineup, giving the team another large presence in the paint, but taking away the Hornets’ ability to play the same style.

“We have been dealing with adversity all year, like when B. J. went down,” Lee said. “It made coach play Furlow and that’s a big difference in the game.

When B.J. was here, we were playing up and down but now since he got hurt we have to play half court because we have Lowell in there.”

The slower pace has worked, as the Hornets beat Dora last week to make the state semifinals, the farthest the school has ever advanced in the state playoffs. Leshore, while happy for teammates, said it was emotional when the clock hit zero and the impact of the team’s accomplishment hit him.

“It’s hard. I was excited about us winning at state because we have never done this before but the last couple of seconds of the game it got emotional,” Leshore said. “I know I helped progress but not in the way that I wanted to.”

In Dallas County’s last regular season game of the year on Feb. 3, Moore and Keith head coach Tommy Tisdale agreed to let Leshore begin the game with a free layup so that his career would not end with the Achilles injury.