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Lady Bears triumph over Middlesboro

MIDDLESBORO — Halfway through their district schedule, the Harlan County Lady Bears have established themselves as the clear-cut favorite for their third straight 52nd District title. The Lady Bears followed a 28-point win over Bell County and a 42-point win over Harlan by rolling past Middlesboro 75-39 on Monday.

“We feel good where we are district-wise at this point,” Harlan County coach Debbie Green said. “We want the No. 1 seed and we’ve done what we’ve needed in the district games to this point.”

“They are the team to beat. They’ve beat all three of us by similar margins,” said Middlesboro coach Scott Overbay.

Overbay was determined to make Harlan County beat them from the outside with a 2-3 zone that left the Lady Bears open on the outside. The strategy worked early as the Lady Bears missed their first eight shots from behind the 3-point line and led by only two midway through the opening period. Hannah Wood came off the bench and quickly ended the drought with a pair of treys. Reanna Middleton and Phebe McHargue added one each as the Lady Bears built an 18-10 lead after one quarter.

“We had good looks. They just weren’t falling,” Green said. “Luckily, Ree and Hannah started hitting some shots, then Kelly Beth (Hoskins) later in the game.”

Harlan County opened the second period with a 10-0 run led by sophomore Jacey Lewis who scored off a turnover, then found Turner for two baskets inside. McHargue’s steal and layup pushed the lead to 28-10. McHargue hit a 3-pointer and Middleton reeled off eight straight points, capped by two 3-pointers, for a 37-12 lead. Middlesboro was held without a basket in the period until Brittany Davis’ 3-pointer at the buzzer made the score 40-15 at halftime.

“We don’t have the speed or experience they do,” Overbay said. “They are still a great team, even without Blair (Green) and Kaylea Gross. I’m proud of the way our girls have battled. We knew we would have to grind it out. We just made too many mistakes with the basketball and gave up too many offensive rebounds.”

Middleton led the 5-0 Lady Bears with 16 points. Morgan Blakley added 12 and Turner contributed 11. Harlan County owned a 43-23 advantage on the boards, led by Turner with 15 and Blakley with 12.

Brittany Davis led the 1-7 Lady Jackets with 13 points.

Johnson, Middleton and Blakley each had two baskets in the third quarter, but Middlesboro was only outscored by three in the period as Woody and Sowders each had three baskets for the Lady Jackets.

Kelly Beth Hoskins came off the bench to hit a pair of 3-pointers for the Lady Bears in a 15-0 run that pushed the lead to 40 and started a running clock. Wood also added a 3-pointer while K.K. Johnson, Blakley and Turner contributed baskets.

Harlan County travels to Madison Central for the Jack Burford Classic on Thursday. Middlesboro will travel to Pleasure Ridge Park this weekend for the Lady Panthers Invitational.

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Harlan County 75, Middlesboro 39

HARLAN COUNTY (5-0)

Phebe McHargue 3-9 0-0 8, K.K. Johnson 3-11 3-3 9, Reanna Middleton 6-11 1-2 16, Morgan Blakley 5-9 2-3 12, Breann Turner 5-10 1-2 11, Hannah Wood 3-9 0-0 9, Kassy Owens 0-1 0-0 0, Jacey Lewis 1-7 0-0 2, Kelly Beth Hoskins 2-4 0-0 6, Haley Middleton 0-0 0-0 0, Jaylin Smith 1-2 0-0 2, Jaylin Preston 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 29-73 7-10 75.

MIDDLESBORO (1-7)

Baylee Woody 3-8 2-8 9, Grace Gent 2-2 0-0 5, Gracie Moles 1-3 0-0 2, Aubrey Sowders 3-12 2-2 8, Kailey Owens 1-6 0-0 2, Brittany Davis 3-7 6-8 13, Marlee Moles 0-0 0-0 0, Kirsten Keith 0-0 0-0 0, Mallory James 0-0 0-0 0, Emrey Glover 0-0 0-0 0, Grace Temple 0-0 0-2 0, Marla Segura 0-0 0-0 0, Priscilla Mahler 0-0 0-0 0, Lakyn King 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-38 10-20 39.

Harlan County 18 22 17 18 — 75

Middlesboro 10 5 14 10 — 39

3-point goals: Harlan County 10-31 (Wood 3-4, Middleton 3-8, Hoskins 2-3, McHargue 2-6, Preston 0-1, Lewis 0-3, Johnson 0-6), Middlesboro 3-10 (Gent 1-1, Davis 1-3, Woody 1-4, Moles 0-2). Rebounds: Harlan County 43 (Turner 15, Blakley 12, R. Middleton 4, Owens 3, Lewis 3, H. Middleton 3, Hoskins 2, Smith 1), Middlesboro 23 (Woody 7, Gent 4, Owens 4, Moles 3, Sowders 3, Davis 1, King 1). Turnovers: Harlan County 11, Middlesboro 21. Fouled out: None.