Lady Bears roll into regional finals
CORBIN — Making their fourth straight appearance in the regional semifinals and the seventh in 11 years of the program, the Harlan County Lady Bears appeared quite comfortable and composed as they faced Lynn Camp on Saturday afternoon at The Arena in Corbin with a ticket to the regional finals on the line.
Making their first appearance in the second round of the regional in school history after breaking a 26-game losing streak for the 51st District with a first-round win over Red Bird, the Lady Cats were not as relaxed.
Harlan County scored the game’s first 12 points and stayed in control on the way to a 59-14 win, sending the defending regional champs to the finals for the fourth straight time.
“They are the reigning region champs for a reason, and all the credit goes to them and their coaches. They played their game,” Lynn Camp coach Justin Woods said. “Their full-court press is incredible. We’ve prepared for it and had other teams press us, but nothing like that. They are quick and athletic. They will speed you up and force you to make your own mistakes. They did exactly what they came in here to do.”
The Lady Bears limited Lynn Camp to 13 percent (four of 31) shooting, forced 16 turnovers and won 35-18 on the boards.
“We never overlook anyone. We just play our game,” Harlan County coach Debbie Green said. “I was really pleased. We had 21 assists and eight turnovers. We’ve shared the ball and moved the ball well all year. We wanted to wear them down and press them.”
Senior guard Phebe McHargue scored 21 to lead the Lady Bears as she hit nine of 14 shots. Reanna Middleton added 13 points. K.K. Johnson contributed 10 points and seven assists. Breann Turner followed a 20-rebound effort against Whitley County with 14 against Lynn Camp.
Johnson started the early run for the Lady Bears with a layup off the opening tip. Middleton hit a pair of 3-pointers around a basket in the post by Turner. McHargue’s layup off a Hannah Wood steal pushed the lead to 12-0 before Mackenzie Grant finally broke the ice for Lynn Camp at the 2:16 mark of the opening period. Turner’s basket gave HCHS a 14-2 lead after one quarter.
Bradi Coe hit a 3-pointer for Lynn Camp to open the second period, but Johnson responded for HCHS. McHargue had two layups and Morgan Blakley hit two free throws in a 12-1 run capped by Jacey Lewis’ 3-pointer with 3:10 left in the half for a 26-6 lead. McHargue had three baskets in another Harlan County run, pushing the score to 34-8 by halftime.
Lynn Camp hit only two of 19 shots in the first half for 11 percent.
McHargue hit a 3-pointer, Blakley scored inside and McHargue converted a layup to make the score 43-8 and start a running clock with 6:20 left in the third quarter. Grant and Jada Rogers had baskets for Lynn Camp, but Harlan County’s lead grew to 52-12 by the end of the period as McHargue, Johnson, Middleton and Turner scored for the Lady Bears.
A McHargue 3 and Middleton layup to open the final period pushed the lead to 45 and meant an early exit for the HCHS starters.
Grant, a senior forward, scored seven points to lead the 18-12 Lady Cats, who won the 51st District title and became the first 51st District team to win a game in the regional tournament since the 2006 realignment. The Lady Cats also had to overcome the death of coach Richard Jones, who had led the program for 25 years.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my girls,” Woods said. “It may not show up on the scoreboard, but to make it to the final four with everything they have been through is an incredible accomplishment. It’s been an underdog story all year, kind of David vs Goliath. We’ve had some big wins. There is no replacing our seniors (Grant, Coe, Macie Miracle and Jada Rogers), both on the court and off the court. I love them dearly and wish them nothing but the best.”
Harlan County (23-6) is in familiar territory with its fourth straight trip to the regional finals.
“These seniors, and those under them, have been great. They’ve won over 100 games and been to four regional finals,” Green said. “We know we won’t be going into the regional finals as a favorite, but we’ll go in loose and whatever happens, happens.”
Harlan County 59, Lynn Camp 14
LYNN CAMP (18-12)
Bradi Coe 1-6 0-0 3, Macie Miracle 0-1 0-0 0, Jada Rogers 1-6 2-4 4, Mackenzie Grant 2-6 3-6 7, Jasmine Rogers 0-9 0-0 0, Natalie Fanella 0-1 0-0 0, Tori Lee 0-1 0-0 0, Jorja Carnes 0-1 0-0 0, Abby Mabe 0-0 0-0 0, Bella Blevins 0-0 0-0 0, Brooklyn Colinger 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 4-31 5-10 14.
HARLAN COUNTY (23-6)
Phebe McHargue 9-14 0-0 21, K.K. Johnson 4-7 1-3 10, Reanna Middleton 4-7 2-2 13, Morgan Blakley 2-4 1-3 10, Breann Turner 2-4 0-0 4, Hannah Wood 0-0 0-0 0, Jacey Lewis 1-3 1-2 4, Kelly Beth Hoskins 0-1 0-0 0, Jaylin Smith 1-2 0-2 2, Jaylin Preston 0-2 0-0 0, Haley Middleton 0-1 0-0 0, Taylor Lunsford 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 23-46 5-13 59.
Lynn Camp 2 6 4 2 — 14
Harlan County 14 20 18 7 — 59
3-point goals: Lynn Camp 1-3 (Coe 1-2, Jada Rogers 0-1), Harlan County 8-20 (Middleton 3-5, McHargue 3-6, Johnson 1-3, Lewis 1-3, Hoskins 0-1, Preston 0-2). Rebounds: Lynn Camp 18 (Jada Rogers 4, Grant 4, Jasmine Rogers 3, Miracle 2, Fanella 2, Coe 1, Lee 1, Mabe 1), Harlan County 35 (Turner 14, Blakley 7, Haley Middleton 4, Lunsford 3, McHargue 2, Johnson 2, Hoskins 2, Middleton 1). Turnovers: Lynn Camp 16, Harlan County 8. Assists: Lynn Camp 1 (Miracle 1), Harlan County 21 (Johnson 7, McHargue 4, Wood 3, Reanna Middleton 2, Blakley 2, Turner 2, Haley Middleton 1). Fouled out: Lynn Camp (Fanella).