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Blakley carries Lady Bears to Senior Night win

During her first three seasons of high school, Morgan Blakley thrived in a supporting role on a Harlan County squad already filled with star power.

Blakley stepped into the leading role as a senior and has responded with a monster final season, including a memorable Senior Night performance Tuesday. Blakley all but willed her team to a win with a 32-point, 10-rebound performance, including 13 points and six rebounds in the fourth quarter as the Lady Bears rallied for a 77-69 victory.

“I thought we played a really good fourth quarter. This was a big win against a quality opponent,” Harlan County coach Debbie Green said. “Morgan gave us a big lift once again, especially when we really needed her in the last period. We finally started getting some rebounds as a team and kept them off the boards after they had hurt us there quite a bit earlier in the game.”

Junior forward Jaylin Smith added 14 points as the Lady Bears improved to 12-9 overall.

Leslie County (13-11) was again led by Lexy Meyers with 28 points. Emily Bowling scored 17.

The Lady Eagles had a big night from beyond the 3-point line, hitting 10 of 23, but Leslie hit only nine of 21 free throw attempts, a key stat in the game, especially when HCHS rallied in the fourth quarter.

Blakley and Smith each had baskets early in the final period as the Lady Bears pulled even. A 3-pointer by Jacey Lewis with 5:32 left put HCHS ahead to stay as Blakley and Smith each scored in a 6-0 run that extended the Harlan County lead to seven with 3:12 left. Leslie missed three of five at the line at that point as Harlan County was able to stretch its lead to nine on free throws by Blakley and Lewis.

Harlan County returns to action Thursday at Harlan in a girls/boys doubleheader.

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Harlan County 77, Leslie County 69

LESLIE COUNTY (13-11)

Emily Bowling 6-12 3-6 17, Lexy Meyers 8-19 6-8 28, Iris Napier 3-9 0-2 8, Baylee Davidson 4-7 0-0 8, Emma Napier 4-8 0-5 8, Emily Napier 0-4 0-0 0, Macy Fee 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 25-59 9-21 69.

HARLAN COUNTY (12-9)

Hannah Wood 2-4 1-1 6, Kelly Beth Hoskins 3-9 1-2 8, Morgan Blakley 10-19 10-11 32, Kassy Owens 2-9 2-2 6, Dixie Ewing 1-2 2-2 4, Jaylin Smith 5-7 4-7 14, Jaylin Preston 1-4 0-0 3, Jacey Lewis 1-1 1-2 4. Totals: 25-55 21-27 77.

Leslie County 16 23 16 14 — 69

Harlan County 14 22 17 24 — 77

3-point goals: Leslie County 10-23 (Meyers 6-14, Bowling 2-3, Iris Napier 2-6), Harlan County 6-18 (Blakley 2-3, Lewis 1-1, Wood 1-3, Preston 1-4, Hoskins 1-7). Rebounds: Leslie County 42 (Bowling 12, Emma Napier 9, Iris Napier 8, Davidson 8, Meyers 3, Emily Napier 1, Fee 1), Harlan County 33 (Blakley 10, Owens 10, Wood 5, Hoskins 3, Smith 3, Ewing 2). Turnovers: Leslie County 13, Harlan County 10. Fouled out: None.