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Harlan pulls away for 45-36 win

Tuesday’s game between Middlesboro and Harlan looked like a match-up between two teams that were meeting for the third time this season. It was a heated game filled with both passion and aggression.

The Lady Jackets held a one-point lead heading into the final period, but the Lady Dragons’ defense and efficiency at the foul line helped them claim a 45-36 victory over Middlesboro. The win improves Harlan’s district record to 3-1, while the Lady Jackets remain winless in district play.

“We played a great first quarter. We drove the gaps, moved without the ball, created opportunities, (and) pushed the ball up the floor,” said Middlesboro coach Bethany Evans. “Then we got a little lazy and started playing defense with our hands, not our feet. That put Harlan on the line and slowed our momentum down. That hurt us.

“Overall, I thought we played hard tonight. We played with emotion and a desire to win. Things got heated on the court, and they handled it well. They didn’t quit. They kept it together and played harder. These little growths are things that tell me we’re moving in the right direction. Again, we just have to find that winning mentality and put it all together.”

Lakin Burke provided Middlesboro with offense off the bench scoring a team-high 14 points. Baylee Woody chipped in nine points, while Jaymayha Poe added eight points to the finally tally.

What made a big difference in the game was Harlan’s ability to make their free throws. The Lady Dragons only hit one more shot than Middlesboro from the field but went 21-for-30 from the charity stripe. The Lady Jackets went 14-for-24.

Mackenzie King led all scorers with 19 points. Taylor Simpson went 10-f0r-10 from the free-throw line on her way to 12 points. Noah Canady finished the night with seven points.

The Lady Jackets notched a 12-10 lead at the end of one. Poe’s five points helped Middlesboro grab the lead. Harlan grabbed the lead in the second quarter with King leading the Lady Dragons to a 24-21 halftime lead.

Harlan outscored the Lady Jackets 21-15 in the second half to claim a nine-point victory.

Up Next

Middlesboro (7-10) will host Berea (8-12) at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

Harlan (9-9) will host Pineville (14-5) at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

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Harlan 45, Middlesboro 36

HARLAN (9-9)

Noah Canady 2 3-6 7, Payeton Charles 1 0-1 3, Taylor Simpson 1 10-10 12, Brandi Haywood 1 2-2 4, Mackenzie King 6 6-9 19, Whitney Wilson 0 0-2 0. Totals: 11 21-30 45.

MIDDLESBORO (7-10)

Baylee Woody 2 5-6 9, Jaymayha Poe 3 2-4 8, Hannah Warren 1 0-1 3, Malorie Carter 0 0-0 0, Grace Moles 0 0-0 0, Lakin Burke 4 5-8 14, Kailey Owens 0 2-5 2. Totals: 10 14-24 36.

Harlan 10 14 7 14 — 45

Middlesboro 12 9 11 4 — 36

3-point goals: Harlan 2 (Charles 1, King 1), Middlesboro 2 (Warren 1, Burke 1).

Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN