Turner powers Lady Bears into semifinals
CORBIN — In the 11-year history of their program, the Harlan County Lady Bears have made eight appearances in the 13th Region Tournament.
They will be making their eighth appearance in the semifinals on Saturday after a 63-38 win Wednesday over Whitley County in the opening round of the tournament at The Arena in Corbin. The win was the eighth in 10 regional tournament games for the four HCHS seniors, who were on the runner-up team in 2016 and 2017 and the championship team in 2018.
“These girls were a little overshadowed due to Blair (Green) and Kaylea (Gross), but they are great players in their own right,” said Harlan County coach Debbie Green. “Any team would love to have these girls. They have won a lot of games.”
Senior center Breann Turner was at the center of an efficient HCHS halfcourt offense. She hit nine of 13 shots in a 23-point effort and outrebounded the entire Whitley roster with 20. Turner recently set the school record in rebounding, breaking the previous mark held by Blair Green, who is now at the University of Kentucky.
“Bree can rebound. She knows how to use her body and she has five years of varsity experience,” said the HCHS coach.
“I think we feel pretty comfortable here after being here the last three years, all three rounds,” Turner said. “Our guards did a great job getting the ball inside. We know it will come right back out if it’s not open.”
“That was a big stat, 37-17 rebounding. We didn’t do a good job there,” Whitley County coach David Halcomb said. “We really worked on that and post defense, but they just weren’t there. When you shoot 29 percent (12 of 41) from the field you aren’t going to win many games against good teams. It’s disappointing we didn’t come out and play better, but Harlan County is a good team, and they could end up winning this thing.”
Senior guards Phebe McHargue and Reanna Middleton also had big games for the 22-6 Lady Bears with 14 and 13 points, respectively.
“Everyone did a great job tonight,” Green said. “Bree finished real well, Phebe took care of the ball, Ree hit some big shots, Morgan (Blakley) worked really hard and K.K. (Johnson) was all over the place. They all played well, including our bench. Whitley has a good team, and we didn’t overlook them. We wanted to throw the first punch and get them down.”
The Lady Bears scored the first seven points, led by Turner and Middleton, as HCHS scored off turnovers and dominated the glass early in the game. Whitley battled back with a 7-2 run, capped by Lindsey Shope’s 3-pointer, to cut the deficit to three. Johnson and Middleton scored for HCHS as the lead grew to 15-9 by the end of the period and would have been more if McHargue had been able to get off a half-court shot that connected a millisecond earlier.
McHargue took over early in the second quarter, reeling off five straight points on a three-play and basket to push the Lady Bears’ lead to 24-11. Turner had two baskets and Morgan Blakley added one in a 6-0 run that gave Harlan County its biggest lead of the half at 31-15.
Whitley got as close as 10 late in the half, but a 3-pointer by Middleton and two free throws from McHargue helped extend the lead to 36-24 at halftime.
“We talked about taking care of the basketball, reversing the ball and pounding it in to Bree. We did a nice job of executing that tonight,” Green said. “They didn’t really match up with Bree, and we usually play really well when we go inside-out. We executed the gameplan.”
Harlan County was up by 16 midway through the third quarter before going on a 10-0 run to close the period, sparked by three baskets from Turner on passes from Johnson and McHargue, for a 55-29 lead.
The Lady Bears effectively ran out much of the clock in the fourth quarter out of its halfcourt offense. A basket by Middleton gave HCHS its biggest lead at 28 points.
Harlan County will play Lynn Camp at 1 p.m. on Saturday in the semifinals.
Lynn Camp 48, Red Bird 28
With three players scoring in double figures, Lynn Camp ended a string of 26 regional tournament losses for the 51st District with a win over Red Bird in Wednesday night’s second game.
Bradie Coe and Jada Rogers scored 13 points each and Mackenzie Grant added 12 for the 18-11 Lady Cats.
Alyssa Gibson, a freshman point guard, paced the 4-25 Cardinals with 15 points.
Lynn Camp will play Harlan County on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the semifinals. North Laurel takes on Knox Central and South Laurel will face Bell County in semifinal action Thursday.
Lynn Camp (48) — Bradi Coe 13, Mackenzie Grant 12, Jada Rogers 13, Macie Miracle 4, Jasmine Rogers 4, Natalie Fanella 2.
Red Bird (28) — Alyssa Gibson 15, Halee Jackson 4, Liberty Taylor 2, Mackenzie Lawson 3, Taylor Caldwell 2, Emily Roark 2.
Harlan County 63, Whitley County 38
WHITLEY COUNTY (11-22)
Reis Anderson 1-7 2-2 5, Kaelie Frazier 2-6 3-4 9, Makkah Siler 3-6 2-3 8, Lindsey Shope 1-4 0-0 3, Lindi Lawson 2-11 0-0 4, Dorian Siler 1-1 1-2 3, Jaycie Monhollen 2-4 2-2 6, Sarah Bolton 0-0 0-0 0, Mackenzie Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Natalie Moses 0-1 0-0 0, Gladys Thornton 0-0 0-0 0, Kallie Housley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 12-41 10-13 38.
HARLAN COUNTY (22-6)
Phebe McHargue 4-10 5-7 14, K.K. Johnson 1-5 3-4 5, Reanna Middleton 6-9 0-0 13, Morgan Blakley 4-12 0-0 8, Breann Turner 9-13 5-6 23, Hannah Wood 0-2 0-0 0, Jacey Lewis 0-0 0-0 0, Kassy Owens 0-0 0-0 0, Jaylin Smith 0-1 0-0 0, Jaylin Preston 0-0 0-0 0, Kelly Beth Hoskins 0-0 0-0 0, Haley Middleton 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-53 13-17 63.
Whitley County 9 15 5 9 — 38
Harlan County 15 21 19 8 — 63
3-point goals: Whitley County 4-6 (Frazier 2-4, Anderson 1-1, Shope 1-1), Harlan County 2-9 (McHargue 1-2, R. Middleton 1-4, Johnson 0-1, Wood 0-2). Rebounds: Whitley County 17 (M. Siler 7, Anderson 2, Shope 2, D. Siler 2, Monhollen 2, Frazier 1, Smith 1), Harlan County 37 (Turner 20, Blakley 6, Wood 4, Middleton 3, McHargue 2, Johnson 1, Owens 1). Turnovers: Whitley County 19, Harlan County 20. Assists: Whitley County 3 (Frazier 1, Anderson 1, Siler 1), Harlan County 14 (Johnson 7, McHargue 5, Middleton 1, Turner 1. Fouled out: Whitley County (M. Siler).