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Slow start downs Leesville

CHRIS SCHOONOVER | Sports Editor
Leesville Daily Leader

The Lady Dragons held on to that lead to pick up the 60-36 win Friday night at DeRidder High School.

"We wanted to get out quick and get a lead," DeRidder head coach Malcolm Henry said. "We wanted to maintain that throughout the game."

The loss drops the Lady Cats to 1-23 on the year, a disappointing start, but first-year head coach Daniel Greenhouse is optimistic about the future.

"We just didn't compete tonight," he said. "We played against Tioga at a completely higher level. I felt like we had a good game plan and got away from it early. We never really recovered from it.

"We didn't have a summer program, and I didn't start until school started. Usually, in the summer, you can instill your system, and these girls didn't get that. Overall, there is some promise. Even when we hadn't won a game, I felt like we could win this district because of what we have. We really do match up well. It's going to take more commitment."

DeRidder led 19-2 after the first quarter, with 12 points coming from forwards Jaymilla Miller and Azariah Benson.

"It's a big benefit, and we like to use them to our advantage, especially going into district," Henry said. "It's going to be a big asset."

The Lady Dragons took a 21-point lead with 5:17 to go in the half after a layup by Benson.

However, Leesville started to hit shots and trailed 34-16 at halftime.

"The first play of the game, we ran a good set and got a good shot out of it," Greenhouse said. "We never got into another set after that. Sometimes, in a rivalry game, you take it too personal, and I felt like that is what happened tonight."

DeRidder continued to build on its lead and led by 22 after the third quarter. The Lady Cats could not overcome the deficit as they fell to 1-1 in district play.

The win moves DeRidder to 6-15 and 2-0 in District 3.

"It's been kind of rough," Henry said. "There have been ups and downs. What you see out there now is a culmination of hard work.

"We're still working on different things and are trying to find something that defines us. We want to find something that is going to work for us."

Benson led DeRidder with 19, and Miller added 13. Alexis Harris also finished in double figures with 12.

Leesville guard Amaya Thomas led Leesville with 21 points.

"Amaya has really grown as a basketball player," Greenhouse said. "At the beginning of the year, I couldn't get her to put the ball on the floor once. Now it's hard to stop her from doing it. She's gotten really good at ripping through and getting to the basket."