LEESVILLE – Leesville got out to a double digit lead in the first half, but DeRidder came out of the locker room after halftime locked in.

The Lady Dragon defense led to easy buckets as they picked up a 71-61 win Tuesday night at Leesville High School.

"We didn't play as well as I wanted us to play, but we played a lot better in the second half," DeRidder head coach Malcolm Henry said.

The Lady Cats have struggled this season but showed a lot of promise against DeRidder.

"We played a tremendous first half and stuck to the game plan," Leesville head coach Daniel Greenhouse said. "I knew what we could get away playing a team like that. We focused on the little things it would take to beat them, like knowing where (Azariah Benson) was at all times."

With 2:21 left to play in the first half, Leesville took a 26-15 after a layup by Amari Walker.

Leesville led 30-21 at the break, but DeRidder forced multiple turnovers and scored quick buckets to open the half on a 14-4 run to take a 35-34 lead.

"I told them that we just have to play better," Henry said. "For us, we had to play better defense. Once we started doing that, we got turnovers and got back in the game."

DeRidder extended its lead to 48-41 after three straight layups by Azariah Benson.

Benson led the Lady Dragons (9-17, 4-2) with 19 points. 

"She did a great job for us," Henry said. "She does everything – rebound, plays defense, gets steals, and scores points."

Leesville trailed by 3 heading into the fourth but could not get enough stops to retake the lead.

Amaya Thomas led Leesville with 19 points, Jayla Burnett added 15 and Jade LeDay finished with 10. 

Makyra Norris and Alexis Harris each finished with 16 points for DeRidder, and Jaymiah Miller added 14.