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HCHS sweeps doubleheader at Bell County

Harlan County extended its 52nd District win streak to 32 and moved within one game of clinching the district’s top seed with a 60-48 win Tuesday at Bell.

Bell County began the game with fast tempo, attacking the rim, while the Black Bears found most of their success from beyond the 3-point line.

Leading the way for Bell County was junior guard London Stephney with 19 points and senior center Tyler Partin with 10.

Harlan County (14-5) was led by senior guard Alex Pace with 22 points and junior guard Taylor Spurlock with 15. James Smith, a sophomore point guard, contributed 11.

With nine of their first 12 points coming from deep, the Black Bears outscored the Bobcats 15-11 in the first quarter. The teams traded buckets throughout the second quarter, with the Black Bears holding a 28-23 lead at the half.

Both offenses struggled throughout the third quarter, with Harlan County outscoring Bell County 13-7 to take a 41-30 lead into the final quarter. Harlan County maintained their offensive potency in the final period, outscoring Bell County 19-18.

“They were just a better team tonight,” said Bell County coach Frankie Smith. “Harlan County is a very good basketball team. They are very well coached. Mike does a great job up there. They were just the better team tonight. It’s that simple. We need to do better at some things and stop beating ourselves.”

Bell County is back in action against McCreary Central on Jan. 18 on the road. Harlan County plays host to Cumberland Gap, Tenn., on Saturday.

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Harlan County (60) — Alex Pace 22, Taylor Spurlock 15, James Smith 11, Tyler Cole 7, Elisha Smallwood 4, Gabe Price 1.

Bell County (48) — London Stephney 19, Tyler Partin 10, Drake Thomas 7, Sean Phipps 6, Dawson Woolum 4, Isaac Collett 2.

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The turnover-plagued Lady Cats fell 63-40 to visiting Harlan County on Tuesday night.

Leading the way for Harlan County (12-3) was senior guard Phebe McHargue with 21 points. Junior forward Morgan Blakley added 15. The Lady Bears improved to 4-0 in district action and clinched the top seed in the 52nd District Tournament.

Bell County (8-9) was led by Abby Harris with 19 and Ashtyn Meyers with eight.

The Lady Black Bears took advantage of extra opportunities on steals and offensive rebounds in the first quarter, outscoring the Lady Cats 13-9. The Lady Bears’ offense came out fast in the second quarter and capitalized on each opportunity to score, outscoring Bell 22-13 to take a 35-19 lead into the locker room at the half.

In the third quarter, the Lady Cats fought back to within eight points of Harlan County midway through the period. However, the Lady Bears took a 47-33 lead into the final quarter. With the game in hand, the Lady Bears outscored Bell 16-7 in the final period.

“That’s a really good ball team,” said Bell County coach David Teague. “They’re very well coached. They’re a very experienced team, with some very good players. We tried to mix some things up on them and give ourselves a chance in the game. I thought we did some good things, but we did a lot of things that costs us to beat ourselves. We had far too many turnovers. They did a good job of taking the ball away from us and scoring in transition, which is what they like to do. They do a really good job of doing those things, and we were trying to limit them from doing that. We did it in stretches, but we didn’t for the most part. That ended up being a big difference in the game.”

The Lady Cats will be back in action on Jan. 18 against Webster County in the 2A State Championship at the Owensboro Sports Center in Owensboro. Harlan County faces off against Perry Central at home on Thursday.

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Harlan County (63) — Phebe McHargue 21, Morgan Blakley 15, Katelynn Johnson 8, Breann Turner 7, Jacey Lewis 7, Reanna Middleton 5.

Bell County (40) — Abby Harris 19, Ashtyn Meyers 8, Abigail Cornett 5, Ashley Middleton 5, Mackenzie Griffin 2, Sarah Kidwell 1.