Defense carries Lady Dragons to first victory

Published 10:55 pm Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Unhappy with her team’s lackluster defense through three quarters in a loss Monday to Clay County, Harlan coach Tiffany Hamm wanted to see the same kind of effort her Lady Dragons demonstrated in a fourth-quarter rally for a full game Tuesday against Middlesboro.

The Lady Dragons responded to the challenge in a big way, holding the visiting Lady Jackets scoreless for all but a few seconds of the first quarter and without a field goal through the first half in building a 20-point lead at halftime on the way to a 59-28 victory.

“I felt that for the first time we played the style we wanted to play for the entire game,” Hamm said. “We’ve got a long way to go offensively, so it starts with out defense at this point.”

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Senior forward Mackenzie King joined the school’s 1,000-point club wit a 23-point performance that led the 1-2 Lady Dragons. Payeton Charles came off the bench to add nine points. Noah Canady scored eight.

It was the first win as the HHS coach for Hamm, a former Harlan all-stater who had been an assistant coach in North Carolina before returning home in the spring.

“It feels like I haven’t slept since our first loss (last Monday), but I’m just happy for our girls,” Hamm said.

Lakin Burke, an eighth-grade forward, came off the bench to lead the 0-3 Lady Jackets with seven points.

Middlesboro shot only 21 percent (seven of 34) from the field and was held in single digits in three of four quarters.

Both offenses started slow but two baskets by King gave Harlan a 4-0 lead in the opening two minutes. Harlan didn’t have another field goal until Katelyn Burkhart went inside for a 9-0 with 43 seconds left in the first quarter. Burke broke the scoring drought for Middlesboro when she hit a free throw with 14.4 seconds left to cut the deficit to 9-1 after one quarter.

Middlesboro missed all five of its shots from the field in the opening period and turned the ball over 12 times. The Lady Jackets missed nine more shots in the second quarter as Harlan slowly pulled away with the help of four baskets by King and two from Charles, who scored off a drive and then hit a 3-pointer in the final minute to push the Harlan lead to 26-6 at the break.

King reached the 1,000-point mark with a 3-pointer from the corner at the 4:28 mark of the third quarter as the lead grew to 35-11. Canady and Charles each had a pair of baskets in the final three minutes of the period as the Lady Dragons stretched their advantage to 49-19.

Taylor Simpson and Katelyn Burkhart had baskets for Harlan early in the fourth quarter, then Natalee King reeled off five straight points to push the lead to 36 and start a running clock with 2:45 left.

Harlan returns to action Friday at home against Bell County in a girls/boys doubleheader. Middlesboro plays host to Red Bird on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.


Harlan 59, Middlesboro 28


Hannah Warren 0-3 2-3 2, Baylee Woody 2-11 2-4 6, Jamayha Poe 0-1 2-2 2, Grace Moles 1-3 0-0 2, Malorie Carter 1-2 1-2 3, Lakin Burke 1-6 5-6 7, Grace Gent 0-1 0-0 0, Tenley Jackson 1-5 1-2 3, J.J. Brown 1-2 1-2 3, Mallory James 0-0 0-0 0, Grace Temple 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 7-34 14-21 28.

HARLAN (1-2)

Noah Canady 3-6 1-2 8, Whitney Wilson 0-2 0-0 0, Natalee King 2-6 0-2 5, Mackenzie King 8-13 6-8 23, Brandi Haywood 0-3 0-0 0, Payeton Charles 4-8 0-2 9, Taylor Simpson 2-7 0-0 6, Katelyn Burkhart 3-9 0-0 6, Alli Thompson 1-3 0-2 2, Ella Morton 0-0 0-0 0, Angel Wynn 0-0 0-0 0, Makayla Sizemore 0-0 0-0 0, Kaylee Leslie 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 23-57 7-16 59.

Middlesboro 1 5 13 9 — 28

Harlan 9 17 23 10 — 59

3-point goals: Middlesboro 0-9 (Woody 0-1, Burke 0-2, Warren 0-3, Jackson 0-3), Harlan 6-20 (Simpson 2-5, N. King 1-2, Canady 1-3, M. King 1-3, Charles 1-4, Burkhart 0-3). Rebounds: Middlesboro 28 (Burke 8, Woody 6, Warren 3, Poe 3, Moles 3, Carter 2, Gent 2, Mullins 1), Harlan 28 (Haywood 8, M. King 6, N. King 3, Simpson 3, Canady 2, Charles 2, Thompson 2, Wynn 1, Morton 1). Turnovers; Middlesboro 32, Harlan 16. Fouled out: None.