The Gainesville Lady Leopards basketball team is in a transition period. They’ve lost a few of their players and are in the midst of a difficult stretch of district play.

Tuesday’s matchup against Melissa went the way of a few of their most recent district tilts.

The Lady Leopards fell behind early and eventually fell 71-35.

Gainesville trailed 23-4 after the first quarter, but they did show spurts of productivity as they outscored Melissa 15-14 in the second quarter.

However, Melissa held the Lady Leopards to just eight points in each of the third and fourth quarters.

“Early on, it was not a good shot selection,” Gainesville head coach Shaun Weaver said. “We just jacked up shots and we only had 19 points at halftime. I emphasized that we needed to score and things like that. In the second half, we came out and got a better shot selection. Like I told the girls, when we shoot it, at least let’s get across half court and pass it around. Getting better shots gives us a chance to get second-chance points.”

Weaver said some of the mistakes they made came because of their youth on the team as the Lady Leopards have three freshmen.

“We’re not an experienced team,” Weaver said. “I think we have a good process and are going in a good direction. So we just reviewed what we do in practice on Saturday and what we did [Tuesday] in practice. We have to stay calm. Just don’t turn and throw it. So I think we will be smarter instead of turning and throwing a pass. We were reading the defense a little bit better tonight.”

Still, Weaver didn’t want to discount how good of a team Melissa was.

“They’re good,” Weaver said. “I mean, they deserve to get into the playoffs. When they ran the floor, they were dangerous. Not only one or two people were running the floor. All of them ran the floor and it was never the same girl. They make the extra pass to the open girl on the backside that was also running. They move the ball well and hit a couple threes. They can shoot the ball.”

The Lady Leopards will continue the second half of district play when they host Anna on Friday, Jan. 25 as they search for their first district win of the season.

Patrick Hayslip can be reached at sports@gainesvilleregister.com or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip