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Fast start sends Lady Bears to win over Leslie

HYDEN — One great half of basketball was enough for the Harlan County Lady Bears on Monday in a 56-43 victory at Leslie County.

The Lady Bears hit seven 3-pointers in the first half and limited Leslie to only 13 points in building a 26-point halftime lead. Leslie battled back in the second half, getting as close as 12 in the final two minutes before Harlan County put the game away.

“We came out with good effort and really moved the ball around and got off to a great start,” Harlan County coach Debbie Green said. “We got good looks in the second but just didn’t make the shots. We started playing tight.”

Senior guards Phebe McHargue and Reanna Middleton led the 14-3 Lady Bears with 16 and 14 points, respectively, while combining for six of the seven HCHS 3-pointers in the first half. Junior forward Morgan Blakley added 12 points.

Junior guard Lexy Myers led the 11-9 Lady Eagles with 21 points. Senior guard Hannah Gay added 10 points.

The Lady Bears played a nearly perfect first quarter with no turnovers while out rebounding Leslie 12-6. The Lady Bears closed the period with 11 straight points, capped eight straight from McHargue, who hit two 3-pointers in the run after a 3 by Hannah Wood.

Meyers scored the first four points of the second quarter before Middleton started a 15-0 run with a pair of 3-pointers. Two baskets by Blakley and one by Johnson pushed the HCHS lad to 36-13 by halftime. Leslie hit only one of 10 shots from the field in the second quarter.

Harlan County went cold in the third quarter, missing 11 of 12 shots as Leslie battled back to within 14, at 43-29, by the end of the period. Meyers hit two 3-pointers in the quarter and Gay added two baskets.

Two baskets by Blakley helped HCHS push its lead back to 19 midway through the fourth quarter as the Lady Bears went to their spread offense and slowed Leslie’s momentum. The Lady Eagles battled back once again, getting as close as 12 on another trey by Meyers with 55 seconds left. McHargue and Blakley each hit one of two at the line in the final 55 seconds to seal the win.

Harlan County will play host to Knox Central on Tuesday in a 6 p.m. game before the HCHS boys take on Red Bird.

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Sophomore guard Emily Bowling scored 11 points and eighth-grade center Bailey Davidson added 10 as Leslie County won 38-32 in junior varsity action. Iris Napier and Macy Fee each scored seven. Emily Napier tossed in three.

Freshman forward Jaylin Smith led the 3-7 Lady Bears with eight points. Kassy Owens and Kelly Beth Hoskins scored seven each. Jacey Lewis and Jaylin Preston each added five.

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Harlan County 56, Leslie County 43

HARLAN COUNTY (14-3)

Phebe McHargue 5-10 4-6 16, K.K. Johnson 1-6 0-0 2, Reanna Middleton 4-11 2-2 14, Morgan Blakley 5-7 2-4 12, Breann Turner 2-5 5-6 9, Hannah Wood 1-6 0-2 3, Jacey Lewis 0-0 0-0 0, Kassy Owens 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-45 13-20 56.

LESLIE COUNTY (11-9)

Hannah Gay 4-12 2-2 10, Haley Simpson 3-10 2-4 8, Kelsey Harvey 2-5 0-0 4, Lexy Meyers 5-21 8-10 21, Kaley Horton 0-4 0-0 0, Macy Fee 0-1 0-0 0, Emily Bowling 0-4 0-0 0. Totals: 14-67 12-16 43.

Harlan County 21 18 4 13 — 56

Leslie County 6 7 16 14 — 43

3-point goals: Harlan County 7-18 (Middleton 4-7, McHargue 2-5, Wood 1-4, Johnson 0-2), Leslie County 3-14 (Meyers 3-9, Bowling 0-2, Gay 0-3). Rebounds: Harlan County 29 (Turner 16, Blakley 6, Middleton 2, Wood 2, McHargue 1, Johnson 1, Lewis 1), Leslie County 33 (Simpson 15, Meyers 6, Harvey 5, Horton 4, Bowling 2, Gay 1). Turnovers: Harlan County 6, Leslie County 8. Fouled out: Harlan County (Johnson).