Leslie grabbed two quick fouls in the game's first 30 seconds, then at the start of the 3rd quarter, he committed a pushing foul and picked up a technical after arguing the call. But the future Wolfpacker still had plenty of time in the fourth for several crowd-pleasing dunks, passes, blocks and dribbles -- just in time for State coach Sidney Lowe to catch while in attendance. In the final quarter, Leslie totaled 15 points to lead Word of God.
But while Leslie was out, Wall led the team up and down the court and even played defense down low along with Word of Gods bigs.
"With C.J. sitting down, he really did a good job taking over down low," Word of God coach Levi Beckwith said.
Wall said he focused on playing more defensively down low with Leslie out of the game, as Beckwith urged him to grab more defensive rebounds.
"C.J. wasn't in so it was tough rebounding but Stephon [Drane] and Montel [Baines] came in there and helping with the rebounds and running the floor for easy baskets," Wall said.
But from a pure basketball standpoint, the game was ugly. Word of God shot only 38.7 percent from the field, while St. Raymond shot 30 percent. The two teams also combined for 37 turnovers.
Beckwith gave credit to his team's defense in the first half, as the Holy Rams allowed only 16 points.
"I didn't think it was an easy game," Beckwith said despite the final score. "It may have been an easy game looking at the points, but not if you look at how hard our guys worked. This was one of the best halves we've had defensively."
The win moves Word of God into the championship game to face Christ School Sunday night. And with the amount of size that Christ School boasts, Leslie said his playing time will have to drastically increase.
"It's very important that I stay out of foul trouble and keep the fouls down to a minimum," Leslie said.
Beckwith noted that along with Christ School's size, they have a lot of speed and like to press both on offense and defense. "Obviously we want to use our speed, but they have speed as well," Beckwith said. "So we have to make sure they're not hitting threes and hopefully playing a third game in four days is going to slow down some of that."