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Lady Bears open district slate with win

Unable to handle the basketball in two losses to open the season, the Harlan County Lady Bears found much more success when they were able to run an offense Tuesday in a 62-21 victory over visiting Middlesboro.

Harlan County turned the ball over a combined 68 times in losses to Whitley County and Bell County to open the season but dropped that number to 10 against a young Middlesboro squad while shooting 47 percent (23 of 49) from the field.

“We really got after it on defense and got in the passing lanes,” Harlan County coach Debbie Green said. “We also hit some 3-pointers, which was good to see, and we gave a good effort on the boards. We’re a work in progress. We just have to keep playing hard and improving.”

Senior forward Morgan Blakley hit eight of 10 shots and finished with 22 points to lead the 1-2 Lady Bears despite playing only about half the game. Junior guard Kelly Beth Hoskins hit four 3-pointers and finished with 12 points.

Middlesboro shot only 17 percent (five of 30) from the field and 45 percent (nine of 20) from the line. The Lady Jackets were without two starters as junior guard Grace Gent recently suffered a concussion and senior guard Macey Mink is battling an illness.

Eighth-grade Emrey Glover scored seven to lead the Lady Jackets.

Middlesboro turned the ball over 11 times in the opening quarter while missing six of seven shots from the field and five of six from the line. Harlan County built a 23-3 lead by the end of the period, led by four baskets from Blakley and two from Kassy Owens.

Hoskins found the range from the 3-point line in the second quarter, hitting three of three in racing to a 41-9 lead. Green went deep on her bench in the period as nine Lady Bears played. Seventh-graders Kylie Jones and Kylie Noe teamed on a basket late in the half as the HCHS advantage grew to 43-12.

Blakley and Jaylin Smith each had two baskets and Hoskins hit another 3 as HCHS started a running clock with an 11-0 run to open the period. Owens also added a basket as the Lady Bears built a 55-14 lead going into the final period.

“It was a good district win on our homecourt and everybody got to play quite a bit,” Green said. “It was good for some of our young girls to get some experience, especially in a district game.”

Harlan County returns to action on Friday in the Jack Burford Classic at Madison Central High School in Richmond.

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Harlan County 62, Middlesboro 21

MIDDLESBORO (1-5)

Emrey Glover 2-10 2-9 7, Kiersten Keith 1-4 0-0 4, Kailey Owens 1-5 0-0 2, Grace Temple 0-1 3-4 3, Gracie Moles 1-4 1-1 3, Brynlee Foster 0-3 2-4 2, Kamryn Keith 0-2 0-0 0, Keevi Betts 0-1 1-2 1, Priscilla Mahler 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 5-30 9-20 21.

HARLAN COUNTY (1-2)

Hannah Wood 1-7 0-0 3, Kelly Beth Hoskins 4-5 0-0 12, Jaylin Smith 3-7 0-0 6, Morgan Blakley 8-10 6-7 22, Kassy Owens 2-5 0-0 5, Dixie Ewing 0-0 2-2 2, Jaylin Preston 0-1 0-0 0, Taylor Lunsford 1-2 0-0 2, Haley Middleton 0-1 0-0 0, Taytum Griffin 0-2 0-0 0, Hailey Austin 1-1 0-0 2, Scarlett Rowe 1-3 0-0 3, Paige Phillips 0-1 0-0 0, Kylie Noe 2-4 1-2 5, Kylie Jones 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 23-49 9-11 62.

Middlesboro 3 9 2 7 — 21

Harlan County 23 20 12 7 — 62

3-point goals: Middlesboro 2-15 (Kiersten Keith 1-3, Glover 1-6, Owens 0-2, Moles 0-2, Foster 0-2), Harlan County 7-17 (Hoskins 4-5, Owens 1-1, Wood 1-6, Smith 0-1, Blakley 0-1, Rowe 0-1, Griffin 0-2). Rebounds: Middlesboro 23 (Moles 6, Temple 5, Owens 4, Kiersten Keith 2, Betts 2, Kamryn Keith 1, Glover 1, Mahler 1, Kamryn Keith 1), Harlan County 23 (Blakley 4, Smith 3, Lunsford 3, Griffin 3, Austin 3, Wood 2, Ewing 2, Noe 2, Hoskins 1). Turnovers: Middlesboro 26, Harlan County 10. Fouled out: None.