Pineville edges Lady Cats
The Bell County girls basketball team were within one point of the lead with just over three minutes to go in the game. Pineville seized full control from that point outscoring the Lady Cats 10-4 down the stretch to earn a 53-46 victory on Tuesday.
It is believed to be the first time the Lady Lions have defeated Bell County since Bell consolidated in the mid-80s.
“Everyone wants bragging rights. We feel we can be competitive with anybody in the county, and this kind of testifies that,” said Pineville coach Jamie Mills. “It’s a big win, and now we go on to the next one.
“Games like this are tough because it gets emotional. It’s hard. You make some mistakes just out of emotions. I told them to play within themselves, and that’s what we tried to do.”
The victory gives the Lady Lions four consecutive wins with three coming in the Chain Rock Classic just before the calendar turned to 2018. For Bell County, it ends a three-game winning streak that included a championship run through the Christmas at the Capital tournament.
It was Pineville’s interior game that proved to be successful against Bell County. Jill Enix and Raigan King combined for 40 points with both players scoring 20 points apiece. Enix registered a double-double hauling in a game-high 11 rebounds. She also tallied four steals and three assists.
King was two boards shy of a double-double and shot a team-best 85.7 percent from the field. She went 8-for-11 at the charity stripe.
“Jill played tremendous. Raigan played well. She had 20 (points) also. They stepped up big,” said Mills. “The other girls, I told them even if you don’t score two or three points, it’s getting the rebounds, it’s getting a hand on the ball and that’s what we had. Some girls didn’t score that many, but they contributed in other ways.”
The Lady Lions had an overall better shooting night than the Lady Cats knocking down 44.2 percent of their shots from the field. Bell County only shot 28 percent from the field.
The Lady Cats were paced by Karlee Cox and Brittney Cupp. Cox led the team in points with 18 while scoring 12 from beyond the arc. Cupp registered her ninth double-double of the season scoring 11 points and hauling in 10 rebounds. She also went 7-for-10 from the free-throw line.
“We didn’t do a good enough job executing down the stretch. We settled for a lot of jumpers,” said Bell County coach David Teague. “We had a one-point ball game with a little over two minutes to go, and we got a little too fast. We tried to get them calmed down in the timeout, and I thought they come back and responded a little bit.
“I thought at halftime (Pineville) just had their way with us down inside. I didn’t think we was playing physical. I didn’t think we were getting low and pushing and things like that. (Pineville) did a good job overloading and getting some things on the backside. Our kids, we’ve got to get mentally tougher in those situations.”
Pineville held a 26-19 lead heading into halftime after King hit a layup at the buzzer. The two teams opened the third quarter swapping baskets before a floater by Davis and a layup by Cox cut the lead to two, 30-28, with 3:55 remaining in the third.
Enix answered with a layup before consecutive free throws by Cupp narrowed the deficit to 32-31. The Lady Lions pulled away to a 35-31 lead with a pair of free throws from Enix with 1:42 remaining in the third.
The Lady Cats cut the lead to one, 35-34, with seconds left after a layup and free throw. Enix got the put back at the buzzer to give Pineville a 37-34 lead at the end of three.
The game remained close early in the fourth with a Cox 3-pointer tying the game at 41-41 at the 5:30 mark in the final period. The Lady Lions regained the lead with an Enix layup. Davis narrowed the deficit to 43-42 with 3:27 remaining in regulation.
From that point, Pineville took over. The Lady Lions used a 7-0 run to take a 50-42 lead with 1:49 remaining in the game. Bell cut the lead to seven, 50-43, with a free throw by Cupp.
The Lady Cats got a steal on the next possession, but Cox was called for the charge on a fast break to return possession to Pineville. The Lady Lions benefited with King hitting a free throw at the other end to increase the lead to 51-43 with 1:09 remaining.
Harris hit a 3-pointer with 1:01 left in the fourth to narrow the deficit to 51-46. Pineville sealed the game with a pair of King free throws that gave the Lady Lions a seven-point victory.
Pineville (11-2) returns to action at 6 p.m. on Thursday when the team travels to Ewing, Virginia to play Thomas Walker.
Bell County (8-7) will battle crosstown rival Middlesboro (4-6) at 6 p.m. on Friday.
Pineville 53, Bell County 46
Sarah Combs 2-5 1-2 6, Whitney Caldwell 1-11 0-0 3, Jill Enix 8-15 4-4 20, Raigan King 6-7 8-11 20, Makenzie Fuson 2-5 0-0 4. Totals: 19-43 13-17 53.
BELL COUNTY (8-7)
Brittany Davis 3-13 1-2 9, Lindsey Bryant 0-2 0-0 0, Brittney Cupp 2-5 7-9 11, Abby Harris 2-8 0-0 6, Karlee Cox 6-20 2-2 18, Brea Browning 1-1 0-2 2. Totals: 14-50 10-16 46.
Pineville 11 15 11 16 — 53
Bell County 11 8 15 12 — 46
3-point goals: Pineville 2-13 (Caldwell 1-8, Combs 1-3, Enix 0-2), Bell County 8-34 (Cox 4-17, Davis 2-12, Harris 2-4). Rebounds: Pineville 30 (Enix 13), Bell County 28 (Cupp 10).
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN