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Lady Cats capitalize on turnovers in win over Harlan County

The Harlan County Lady Bears often feasted on opponents who struggled to handle the basketball over the past four seasons.

The Lady Bears have become the target of the feast for quite a few opponents during this rebuilding season after four straight trips to the 13th Region Tournament finals. Harlan County turned the ball over 28 times Tuesday as visiting Bell County all but clinched the top seed in the 52nd District Tournament with an 84-73 victory.

Senior guard Abby Harris poured in 35 points to lead the 14-3 Lady Cats. Freshman center Taliyah McQueen added 20 points.

Morgan Blakley, a senior forward, led the 8-7 Lady Bears with 28 points. Hannah Wood added 15, while Kelly Beth Hoskins tossed in 11 and Jaylin Smith scored 10.

Bell County led four with two minutes in the first half when Blakley and Wood went out with foul problems. The Lady Cats closed with an 8-0 run off the final four of 14 turnovers in the quarter.

“We had to go with some young kids, but it’s not their fault. They were playing a good team against a lot of pressure Our older kids didn’t do much better, at that point anyway,” Harlan County coach Debbie Green said. “We got better as the game went along. We dug ourselves, then got it down to six but missed some easy shots. We let them shoot layups from the start until the end of the game. We’re better than that. We looked tired. I never know what team will show up, and when that team shows up I know what the result will be. It won’t be good. We have to do a better job.”

The Bell lead grew to 60-44 by the end of the third quarter with the help of three baskets by Harris. Blakley had four baskets in the quarter to lead HCHS.

Wood heated up from the outside, hitting three 3-pointers to spark a 16-6 run that got the Lady Bears within six at 66-60, with 5:08 to play. Harris scored seven points as Bell answered with a 9-0 run to put the game away and improve to 4-0 in district competition.

Harlan County returns to action Wednesday at home against Hazard. Bell County is at home against Corbin on Friday.

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Bell County 84, HCHS 73

BELL COUNTY (14-3)

Ashtyn Myers 5-10 0-0 11, Abigail Cornett 2-3 0-0 6, Abby Harris 10-20 15-19 35, Sarah Kidwell 1-1 0-0 2, Taliyah McQueen 9-14 2-5 20, Nadene Johnson 2-5 2-2 7, Mataya Ausmus 1-2 1-2 3, Abby Jackson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 30-55 20-28 84.

HARLAN COUNTY (8-7)

Hannah Wood 4-8 4-4 15, Kelly Beth Hoskins 4-9 0-0 11, Morgan Blakley 11-20 5-5 28, Jaylin Smith 3-4 4-4 10, Kassy Owens 4-7 0-0 9, Jaylin Preston 0-2 0-0 0, Dixie Ewing 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor Lunsford 0-0 0-0 0, Taytum Griffin 0-1 0-0 0, Hailey Austin 0-0 0-0 0, Kylie Jones 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 26-51 13-13 73.

Bell County 16 27 17 24 — 84

Harlan County 16 15 13 29 — 73

3-point goals: Bell County 4-9 (Cornett 2-3, Johnson 1-1, Myers 1-5), Harlan County 8-18 (Wood 3-7, Hoskins 3-7, Blakley 1-1, Owens 1-2, Preston 0-1). Rebounds: Bell County 24 (McQueen 8, Harris 6, Myers 3, Kidwell 3, Ausmus 2, Cornett 1, Johnson 1), Harlan County 25 (Owens 10, Blakley 6, Smith 4, Hoskins 3, Ewing 1, Lunsford 1). Turnovers: Bell County 15, Harlan County 28. Fouled out: Harlan County (Blakley).