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Lady Bears roll into WYMT finals

HINDMAN — What started as a showdown between the favorites in the 13th and 14th regions soon turned into a rout in the semifinals of the WYMT Mountain Classic. Harlan County followed up a 17-point win over Knott Central in last year’s tournament with an even more impressive blowout Wednesday.

Harlan County, the defending WYMT champs, rolled into the finals for the second straight year with a shockingly easily 86-57 demolition of the Lady Patriots on Wednesday on Knott’s home floor, setting up a showdown Saturday against 13th Region rival South Laurel.

Harlan County (4-0) found a devastating inside-outside attack from the start against Knott, hitting four 3-pointers on the way to a 29-point first quarter as the Lady Bears built a 17-point lead. Rebecca Middleton hit two 3-pointers in the opening period while Phebe McHargue and Shelby McDaniel added one each.

Senior guard Blair Green had her usual game with 22 points, but she had plenty of support as McHargue scored 18 and Kaylea Gross added 16 despite only playing a little over a quarter due to foul problems.

“Phebe and Bree (Turner) and Becca and those kids really shot it well tonight and that opened things up for us,” Harlan County coach Debbie Green said. “We wanted to keep the pressure on them and make them have a hard time getting it over us. I was pleased with the overall effort and being able to keep the intensity going.”

Jada Higgins, a junior guard, led the 3-1 Lady Patriots with 18 points. Keara Mullins came off the bench to add 10 points.

Green had three more baskets in the second quarter and McHargue, Breann Turner and McDaniel added two each as the HCHS lead grew to 55-32 by halftime. The Lady Bears continually hurt Knott in transition.

“We made some fantastic passes from baseline to baseline,” Green said. “We have some kids who have great hands, and we work on those passes every day. You can see they have a lot of confidence in each other. They are really able to push each other in practice.”

HCHS cooled off in the third quarter, hitting only five of 18 shots, but was still able to extend its lead, taking a 72-45 advantage into the final period. Knott’s Breanna Harrington was assessed a technical and ejected midway through the period after a scuffle for a loose ball.

Gross hit all three of her shots in the fourth quarter as the Lady Bears had success getting the ball inside, building their lead to as many as 33 points before reserves for both sides closed the game.

Harlan County will play South Laurel on Saturday in the championship game, a matchup of the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the 13th Region and likely the top two teams in eastern Kentucky.

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Harlan County 86, Knott Central 57

HARLAN COUNTY (4-0)

Phebe McHargue 6-12 4-5 18, K.K. Johnson 0-6 1-2 1, Blair Green 8-17 5-7 22, Lainey Cox 1-2 2-2 4, Kaylea Gross 5-9 6-9 16, Breann Turner 3-4 2-2 8, Rebecca Middleton 2-5 0-0 6, Shelby McDaniel 3-4 0-0 7, Morgan Napier 0-0 0-0 0, Reann Middleton 0-2 0-0 0, Hannah Wood 0-1 0-0 0, Morgan Blakley 0-2 1-3 1, Macie Napier 0-1 0-0 0, Kelly Beth Hoskins 1-2 0-0 3.. Totals: 29-67 86.

KNOTT CENTRAL (3-1)

Jada Higgins 6-15 6-14 18, Summer Anderson 0-3 0-0 0, Kamryn Thornsberry 2-9 2-2 7, Breanna Harrington 3-10 3-4 9, Allie O’Hair 1-6 0-1 2, Keara Mullins 3-5 4-4 10, Emily Williams 2-3 1-2 5, Natalie Slone 0-0 0-0 0, Madison Ashley 1-2 1-2 3, Kaci McCowan 1-4 0-3 2, Madie Cornett 0-1 0-0 0, Emily Mullins 0-1 0-0 0, Presley Fletcher 0-0 1-2 1, Mackenzie Conley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-59 18-34 57.

Harlan County 29 26 17 14 — 86

Knott Central 12 20 13 12 — 57

3-point goals: Harlan County 7-21 (McHargue 2-5, Rebecca Middleton 2-5, Hoskins 1-1, McDaniel 1-2, Green 1-4, Johnson 0-4), Knott Central 1-7 (Thornsberry 1-2, Higgins 0-1, Anderson 0-1, Mullins 0-1, Harrington 0-2). Rebounds: Harlan County 46 (Green 8, Cox 8, Gross 7, Turner 4, Rebecca Middleton 4, Morgan Napier 3, Wood 3, McHargue 2, Johnson 2, Blakley 2, Reanna Middleton 1, Macie Napier 1, Hoskins 1), Knott Central 33 (Higgins 7, Harrington 7, Thornsberry 6, O’Hair 4, Williams 3, Anderson 2, Mullins 1, Ashley 1, McCowan 1, Conley 1). Turnovers: Harlan County 20, Knott Central 21.Fouled out: Harlan County (Gross), Knott Central (Higgins). Technical fouls: Knott Central (Harrington).