Both the Harlan County girls and boys opened up the home schedule with a victory over visiting Pineville on Tuesday. The Lady Bears turned in a shutdown defensive effort on their way to a 64-35 victory over Pineville in the first game of a double-header. The Harlan County boys used a balanced offensive effort to cruise past the Mountain Lions 72-51.
Harlan County forced 17 turnovers in the first half, while limiting the Lady Lions to just 13 points to jump out a big early lead in Tuesday’s opener.
“There were a couple of things we were going to focus on tonight, and getting turnovers and transition baskets were two of those. We got a lot of things from our defense and communicating. I was really proud of those elements,” said Nolan. “Being able to turn them over was a big thing.”
Sophomore Lindsay Branson had eight of her 12 points in the first quarter as Harlan County led 23-6.
“We got a big lift from the bench tonight. Lindsay came in more offensive minded like we need her to be. The other kids come in and filled their role,” Nolan said.
The Lady Bears continued to pull away in the second quarter. Sophomore Brooklyn Massingill recorded 11 of Harlan County’s 15 points in the period as the lead grew to 25 points at the half. Massingill finished with 21 points to lead all scorers.
Massingill had seven more points in the third quarter as the advantage grew to 53-24. The Lady Lions were never able to mount a serious comeback attempt in the second half. The Lady Bears substituted heavily throughout the fourth quarter on their way to the win.
Harlan County (3-0) returns to action Friday at home against Middlesboro in a 52nd District contest. Pineville (2-2) will host Barbourville on Thursday.
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The names on the Harlan County roster may not be familiar to the rest of the 13th Region just yet, but the Black Bears are working on that. Six players scored at least eight points as Harlan County downed Pineville in Tuesday’s second game.
“That’s what we are are looking for. We are trying to play as many of these kids as we can, as long as they do their job. We want balance. We want several kids scoring,” said Harlan County coach Mike Jones. “It’s a lot harder to defend a team like that than it is one where they can just concentrate on a certain player to stop.”
Junior Trey Sanders turned in nine points in the first quarter as the Bears opened the contest outscoring Pineville 18-6 in the first eight minutes. Sanders finished with 13 points to lead Harlan County.
Sanders and Cody Bumgardner each had four points to lead seven Black Bear scorers in the second quarter. Harlan County outscored Pineville by four in the period to take a 36-20 lead into the half. Pineville’s Cody Collett had eight of his game-high 20 points to keep the Mountain Lions within striking distance.
“We have to do a better job of keeping pressure on people. We had some spells where we played good, but we had some spells where we were lacking and let them get to the free throw line,” said Jones.
Pineville limited Harlan County to 11 points in the third quarter to reduce the deficit to 12 points. Scotty Bailey had four of those points in the period. The senior hit all five of his attempts to finish with 10 points.
“(Scotty) is setting a good example for these younger kids. If you tell him something one time he does it. He just plays hard and don’t complain,” Jones said. “That’s what we want from everybody — just to be consistent, hard-nosed and understand that they are not going to play as much if they don’t play hard. So, they might as well go ahead and give their best effort while they are in there an not worry about trying to save their energy.”
The Black Bears exploded for 25 points in the final period to pull away with the win. Bumgardner’s five points led eight scorers in the fourth quarter.
Harlan County (2-0) returns to action Thursday at home against Middlesboro in a 52nd District contest. Pineville (2-1) will face Bell County in the Bowman Classic at Lynn Camp.
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Harlan County (64) — Kaitlyn Stittums 6, Lauren Lee 2, Brooklyn Massingill 21, Bella Noe 4, Shannon Shackleford 8, Lindsay Branson 12, Kaylea Gross 4, Lauren Smith 0, Bridgett Bennett 0, Becky Freeman 0, Breann Turner 2, Noah Canady 0, Rebecca Middleton 1, Morgan Napier 0, Hannah Gaw 2.
Pineville (35) — Devin Enix 9, Erica Gambrell 8, Jill Enix 5, Emily Mullins 7, Sophia Knuckles 0, Rachel Barnes 2, Tiffany Sutton 0, Makayla Keyes 0, Samantha Brock 0, Sara Combs 2, Mackenzie Fuson 2, Autumn Short 0, Anna Howard 0, Brooke Sanders 0.
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Harlan County (72) — Cody Bumgardner 9, Trey Sanders 13, Zach Caldwell 5, Scotty Bailey 10, Fred Massey 8, Cameron Carmical 3, Treyce Spurlock 9, Zach Wilson 11, Josh Lee 2, Cody Brewer 2, David Turner 0, Jared Sizemore 0.
Pineville (51) — Isaac Longworth 0, Cody Collett 20, Conner Ford 5, John Robbins 11, Dalton Ledbetter 8, Will Adams 0, Tucker Woolum 0, John Sproles 3, Keith Sexton 1, Thomas Brock 3, Jalen Byrd 0, Joseph Simpson 0, Jacob Shackleford 0.