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Lady Bears find long-range attack with 11 treys in a win over Middlesboro

By John Henson Sports Editor

5 months 7 days 19 hours ago |476 Views | | | Email | Print


MIDDLESBORO — Fueled by a defense that forced seven turnovers and allowed only two field goals and an offense that supplied four 3-pointers, the Harlan County Lady Bears turned a close game into a rout during the second quarter of their district clash Monday, outscoring Middlesboro 27-12 on the way to a 77-47 victory.


Harlan County (16-5 overall, 2-1 district) played its usual strong defensive game but added a perimeter attack to its offense, hitting 11 of 17 from behind the 3-point line.


“We’re not shy about taking them if we are getting them out of our offense,” Harlan County coach Anthony Nolan said. “Tonight we were in pretty good rhythm. They were digging and collapsing a lot, so we were able to find the open man.”


Guards Brooklyn Massingill and Lauren Lee led the early offensive onslaught, combining for seven 3-pointers in the first half. Massingill hit five of six 3-point attempts in the game and eight of 10 shots overall in a 25-point effort to break out of a slump that Nolan insists was the least of his concerns.


“She has been such a good scorer for so long that we don’t even look at it as a slump,” he said. “We want her to take the shot. Tonight she was in a good rhythm. We also put her on their quickest player, and I think that helped her get in a rhythm.”


“It’s hard for us to match up and guard them, and we lost Massingill a couple of times, which is one you don’t want to lose,” Middlesboro coach Elgie Green said. “They are more experienced a whole lot more physical and stronger than we are. It’s hard for us to compete with them right now. They are a nice team and should make a nice run in the region.”


Junior guard Bella Noe provided a mid-range threat for the Lady Bears, hitting seven of 12 shots for 15 points. HCHS shot 57 percent (27 of 47) from the field and was even better from beyond the 3-point line at 64 percent.


“We had really good balance,” Nolan said. “Lauren played real well and Kaitlyn was great distributing the ball. We got a lot of minutes from a lot of people early, and I think that will pay off down the road.”


As usual, senior Kaitlyn Stittums ignited the Harlan County defense, drawing the assignment of eighth-grade phenom Blair Green, who missed all but one of her eight shots from the field in the first half before closing strong to finish with 14 points.


“Kate does such a good job of getting her feet and body in good position. She’s a tough defender and heady player,” Nolan said. “She is the consummate team player. I’m glad she’s getting recognition for all the little things she does. This team knows what she means to us.”


“She is strong and smart with good footwork,” Green said. “But it’s not just her. Several of them are good defenders. It makes it extremely tough for us to even get in an offense, much less turn it over and look for good shots. I thought my kids played hard, but right now we can’t compete with Harlan County.”


Sophomore guard Bailey Hensley led Middlesboro (8-12 overall, 0-4 district) with 19 points, including two straight shots late in the first quarter as the Lady Jackets cut a 14-7 deficit to two before a Lee 3-pointer pushed the lead to 17-13 at the end of the period.


Lee hit two more 3-pointers and Massingill nailed two jumpers in a 10-0 run to start the second quarter. Harlan County added a 7-0 run late in the period on baskets by Stittums, Lindsay Branson and Massingill to build a 44-25 halftime advantage.


Noe owned the third quarter, hitting four straight shots at one point. Massingill and Branson added 3-pointers as the Lady Bears built their lead to 61-36 going into the final period.


Harlan County plays host to Harlan on Tuesday and will travel to Harlan on Thursday. Middlesboro returns to action Friday at home against Bell County.


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HARLAN COUNTY (16-5)


Kaitlyn Stittums 2-5 4-7 9, Lauren Lee 3-3 0-0 9, Brooklyn Massingill 8-10 4-4 25, Bella Noe 7-12 1-2 15, Shannon Shackleford 1-2 3-4 5, Lindsay Branson 3-5 0-1 7, Kaylea Gross 0-0 0-0 0, Kaitlin Evans 0-2 0-0 0, Bridgett Bennett 0-0 0-0 0, Lauren Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Breann Turner 0-0 0-0 0, Rebecca Middleton 2-4 0-0 5, Noah Canady 0-1 0-0 0, Hannah Gaw 0-1 0-0 0, Morgan Napier 1-1 0-0 2, Taylor Johnson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 27-47 12-18 77.


MIDDLESBORO (8-12)


Bailey Hensley 5-9 6-8 19, Amanda Biscardi 1-2 0-0 3, Hannah Warren 0-1 0-0 0, Blair Green 3-11 7-7 14, Lauren Spurlock 0-2 3-4 3, Morgan Thompson 2-4 1-2 6, Jamayha Poe 1-1 0-1 2, Malorie Carter 0-0 0-0 0, Baylee Woody 0-0 0-1 0, Brenna Voges 0-0 0-2 0, Hannah Crawford 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 12-30 17-26 47.


Harlan County17 27 17 16 — 77


Middlesboro 13 12 11 11 — 47


3-point goals: Harlan County 11-17 (Massingill 5-6, Lee 3-3, Stittums 1-2, Branson 1-2, Middleton 1-2, Canady 0-1, Gaw 0-1), Middlesboro 6-13 (Hensley 3-6, Biscardi 1-1, Green 1-2, Thompson 1-2, Warren 0-1, Spurlock 0-1). Rebounds: Harlan County 24 (Noe 4, Shackleford 4, Massingill 3, Napier 3, Stittums 2, Branson 2, Turner 2, Lee 1, Gross 1, Bennett 1, Johnson 1), Middlesboro 15 (Green 6, Thompson 5, Biscardi 1, Warren 1, Spurlock 1, Voges 1). Turnovers: Harlan County 10, Middlesboro 15. Fouled out: None.

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