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Lady Dragons find range, down Pineville

While she spent much of the first half of the season trying to push her Harlan Lady Dragons away from their dependence on 3-pointers, coach Tiffany Hamm wasn’t about to complain when those shots started falling Thursday against visiting Pineville.

Harlan hit eight of 12 from behind the line in the first half and connected on nine of 17 for the game to lead from start to finish in a 61-45 victory.

“We were on fire the first half, and that’s good. It gets the kids going, and they had some fun,” Hamm said. “It always feels good to see the ball go through the hoop.”

“They got on a roll and we were struggling offensively,” Pineville coach Jamie Mills said. “They shot lights out. We were in man and they were still hitting 3s.”

Senior forward Mackenzie King led the 10-9 Lady Dragons with 27 points, including four of six from behind the 3-point line with a coach from UVA-Wise in the audience to watch. Guards Payeton Charles and Noah Canady added 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Senior guard Jill Enix paced the 14-6 Lady Lions with 21 points. Sophomore guard Whitney Caldwell added 11 points.

Harlan was hot from the 3-point line from the start as Charles, Canady and King each had treys in a 9-3 run to open the game. Enix kept Pineville close with three of her team’s four baskets in the period to cut the deficit to 20-14 after one period.

Pineville went ice cold to start the second period and played over six minutes without a field goal. Taylor Simpson and King each hit two 3-pointers in another run of treys that pushed the lead to 34-16. Harlan led as many as 20 when King scored inside with two minutes left in the half. Enix scored the only field goal of the period for Pineville with 1:22 left, then hit two free throws to pull the Lady Lions within 17, at 41-24, at halftime.

King took over in the third quarter with four of Harlan’s five baskets as the lead grew to 52-34 going into the final period. Enix had two of Pineville’s four baskets in the quarter.

Caldwell heated up in the last quarter, hitting three 3-pointers to get Pineville as close as 12 with three minutes left. The Lady Lions had two crucial turnovers after that and didn’t score again as baskets by Charles and Natalee King clinched the win.

“We got it down to 12, then had some turnovers when we got in too big of a hurry,” Mills said. “You have to be patient and try to get two points at a time.”

“I felt we’ve come a long way defensively and in rebounding the last three games,” Hamm said. “I thought the Middlesboro game Tuesday was our best defensive game of the year. We’ve made some strides. We just have to stay out of foul trouble.”

Harlan returns to action Monday at Knox Central. Pineville travels to Red Bird on Friday.

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Ella Morton scored nine points to lead Harlan to a 20-13 win in junior varsity action.

Angel Wynn added six for the 1-8 Lady Dragons. Kaylee Leslie scored three. Makayla Sizemore chipped in with two.

Virginia Hall led Pineville with seven points. Chesney Brock scored three. Sammy Partin added two. Halle Jones scored one.

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Harlan 61, Pineville 45

PINEVILLE (14-6)

Sarah Combs 2-5 0-0 5, Jill Enix 6-11 6-7 21, Whitney Caldwell 3-9 2-2 11, Madison Fuson 0-4 0-0 0, Raigan King 1-2 6-10 8, Chesney Brock 0-0 0-0 0, Madison Ford 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 12-31 14-19 45.

HARLAN (10-9)

Payeton Charles 5-11 0-0 12, Noah Canady 3-7 3-5 10, Taylor Simpson 3-5 0-0 8, Mackenzie King 9-16 5-11 27, Brandi Haywood 1-4 0-0 2, Natalee King 1-1 0-0 2, Whitney Wilson 0-1 0-0 0, Alli Thompson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-46 8-16 61.

Pineville 14 10 10 11 — 45

Harlan 20 21 11 9 — 61

3-point goals: Pineville 7-17 (Enix 3-4, Caldwell 3-6, Combs 1-4, Fuson 0-3), Harlan 9-17 (M. King 4-6, Simpson 2-2, Charles 2-5, Canady 1-4). Rebounds: Pineville 23 (Enix 11, Fuson 6, King 4, Caldwell 2), Harlan 25 (Haywood 6, Simpson 5, Canady 4, Charles 3, M. King 3, N. King 3, Wilson 1). Turnovers: Pineville 15, Harlan 9. Fouled out: None.